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.
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.