Germany | Travelling
Travellers from Europe approached the notion of the Near East with dreams of a “holy world” and “treasuries of wisdom”. The European desire for the “Orient” arose partly as a result of the Enlightenment, which since the 1800s had already changed the public psyche, filtering down from the rationalism of intellectuals to the scientification of the public. In addition, the many wars of the period, especially the Napoleonic Wars, produced in the people nostalgia; a desire for distance, the unknown, and the halcyon days of the past. Romantic-era authors and philosophers, much disturbed by these very topics (e.g. Friedrich Schlegel), thus attempted to escape into something magical – the “Orient” seemed to them, and their readers, an ideal imaginary world.