Christian-Weise-Bibliothek, Zittau


The historical roots of the Zittau library are closely connected to the reformation. The Franciscan monastery’s holdings were acquired in 1554. Through donations and bequests of scholars and the foundation of the local secondary school in 1586 the library’s holdings and significance further increased. Its current name was chosen in memory of the former library and school director Christian Weise (1642−1708) who succeeded in making both institutions well-known beyond Zittau. The library preserves 25 manuscripts and documents in Ottoman Turkish, Arabic and Persian.

Collection history

Because the oriental holdings consist entirely of donations and bequests from local scholars, the manuscript collection does not reflect a systematic acquisition policy. The majority of objects are copies from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, most of which already belonged to the Zittau library before 1800. Only two objects were added in the nineteenth century. With the exception of the lawyer Johann Jacob Winziger (d. 1780), each donor enriched the historical holdings by a single gift only.


  • Tino Fröde catalogued the Zittau manuscripts: Tino Fröde, Handschriftenkatalog der Christian-Weise-Bibliothek Zittau, (Osmanische Handschriften und Miniaturschriften), Zittau 2019.
  • Additional information on the provenances and donor books is available here: Tino Fröde, Uwe Kahl, Die Donatorenbücher der Zittauer Ratsbibliothek: 1607-1762, Zittau 2014.