Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities was founded in 1992, as a result of an agreement between the Laender Berlin and Brandenburg. It continues the Prussian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and so looks back to the tradition of the Society of Sciences of the Elector of Brandenburg, founded in 1700. As a research institution outside of a university context, the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities unites scholars and scientists across national and disciplinary borders and both preserves and reveals the region’s cultural inheritance, while also fostering dialogue between scholarship and the public, supporting research, and offering advice on issues that determine the future of our society.

Within the framework of their research, the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities hosts a wide range of projects. One of these, the Turfan Studies project (German ‘Turfanforschung’), is committed to editing and interpreting texts found in and around the Turfan oasis, an important trade centre along the Silk Road, situated in East Turkistan (in the Uighur autonomous region Xinjiang of the People’s Republic of China). Through understanding these texts, their contents and significance, researchers aim to explore the ancient cultures and communities living and trading in the Turfan oasis. The Turfan collection includes, in the main, Buddhist, Manichaean and Christian texts as well as documents from everyday monastic and commercial life, letters and other texts, in over 20 languages and scripts.

The Academy has, with the financial support of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and with the cooperation of the Oriental Department, the Restoration Department and the Reprography Department of the State Library Berlin (Prussian Cutural Heritage Foundation) digitized the entire 40,000 fragments of the Berlin Turfan Collection. The digital images are available freely online in the Digital Turfan Archive. The editions are published in the project’s own publication series, the Berliner Turfantexte (BTT). The Turfan studies research group takes part in the programme "Languages and Cultures of the Silk Road" of the "Berliner Antike-Kollegs".

D. Durkin-Meisterernst, Dictionary of Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian, Turnhout: Brepols 2004 (Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum. Dictionary of Manichaean texts. Vol III. Texts from Central Asia and China. Part 1).

D. Durkin-Meisterernst, Grammatik des Westmitteliranischen (Parthisch und Mittelpersisch). Wien 2004 (Sitzungsberichte der philosophisch-historischen Klasse, Band: 850; Veröffentlichungen zur Iranistik, Band: 73; Grammatica Iranica , Band: 1).

Y. Kasai, A. Yakup, D. Durkin-Meisterernst: Die Erforschung des Tocharischen und die alttürkische Maitrisimit. Turnhout 2013 (Silk Road Studies 17), 9-16.

Y. Kasai, Die uigurischen buddhistischen Kolophone, Turnhout: Brepols 2008 (Berliner Turfantexte XXV)

Y. Kasai: Der Ursprung des alttürkischen Maitreya-Kults, Die Erforschung des Tocharischen und die alttürkische Maitrisimit. Turnhout 2013 (Silk Road Studies 17), 67-104

W. Sundermann, Die Rede der Lebendigen Seele; ein manichäischer Hymnenzyklus in mittelpersischer und soghdischer Sprache. Turnhout 2012 (Berliner Turfantexte XXX)

Turfan Revisited - The First Century of Research into the Arts and Cultures of the Silk Road. Ed. by D. Durkin-Meisterernst, S.-C. Raschmann, J. Wilkens, M. Yaldiz, P. Zieme. Berlin: Reimer 2004 (Monographien zur indischen Archäologie, Kunst und Philologie Bd. 17).

A. Yakup, Prajñāpāramitā Literature in Old Uyghur. Turnhout: Brepols 2010 (Berliner Turfantexte XXVIII)

A. Yakup, Alttürkische Handschriften Teil 15: Die uigurischen Blockdrucke der Berliner Turfansammlung. Teil 3: Stabreimdichtungen, Kalendarisches, Bilder,unbestimmte Fragmente und Nachträge. (Verzeichnis der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, Bd. XIII 23.) Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag 2009


The Silk Roads on the Map

Country profile

Capital: Berlin
Region: Europe and North America

This platform has been developed and maintained with the support of:


UNESCO Headquarters

7 Place de Fontenoy

75007 Paris, France

Social and Human Sciences Sector

Research, Policy and Foresight Section

Silk Roads Programme