Our Middle East collections comprise manuscripts, printed books, newspapers and journals from countries in today's Middle East as well as from Iran and Central Asia from the 5th century AD to the present day.

Collection guides

Asia and Africa

Asian & African Studies Reading Room

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic books and journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

If you need help, just ask our Information Specialists at the Reference Enquiry desk or contact the Asian & African Studies Reference Team.


We offer free Discovery and 1-2-1 Sessions to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon: 10.00 – 17.00
Tue – Sat: 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays: closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

Blog posts

Jewish love potions: a user's guide

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Would you like some help in your pursuit of your beloved? Our Hebrew manuscript collection can offer numerous love potion recipes and incantations, and now is the best time of year to share some of this wisdom with you. Whether...

Classical Central Asia in the Digital Age: Three Newly-Digitised Navoiy Manuscripts at the British Library

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thanks to a partnership between the British Library and the Tashkent State University of Uzbek Language and Literature named Alisher Navoiy, three manuscripts including the poetical works of Alisher Navoiy are now available online. These three items are the first...

The British Library / Qatar Foundation Partnership Imaging Hack Day – Part 2

Friday, February 1, 2019

On 25th October the BL/QFP team held their first Hack Day. The original concept, as well as the planning and run up to the day were previously discussed in a blog piece by Sotirios Alpanis, but here, I am excited...

The shooting of the British Consul General at Isfahan and Sowar Chowdri Khan

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Persia (Iran) declared its neutrality in the First World War on 1 November 1914. Nevertheless, owing to its oil deposits and proximity to British-ruled India, Persia became a battleground for the Great Powers during the War. In January 1915, the...

More blog posts

Projects

Digital access to Persian Manuscripts

Our collection of Persian Manuscripts is one of the most important in the world

Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project

Aims to provide free online access to Hebrew manuscripts from the Library’s collection

All projects

Library experts

Ursula Sims-Williams

Lead Curator, Persian collections

Ilana Tahan

Lead Curator Hebrew and Christian Orient Studies

Daniel Lowe

Curator, Arabic Collections

Michael Erdman

Curator, Turkish and Turkic Collections

More staff members

External links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

AMIR

Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources

FIHRIST

A union catalogue for manuscripts in Arabic script in UK collections

Qatar Digital Library

Modern history and culture of the Gulf and wider region

Shop

Treasures in Focus The Golden Haggadah

The Golden Haggadah is one of the finest surviving Haggadah manuscripts from medieval Spain, and the British Library's most famous Hebraic treasure

£1

West Africa exhibition book

West Africa exhibition book

In this richly illustrated book, leading international scholars offer a unique insight into the stories of West African societies past and present

£25.00