The exhibition ‘Islam, it’s also our history!’ is a civilization exhibition which gives an insight into the legacy left by the Muslim civilization on European soil after 13 centuries of presence. It is therefore not an exhibition about the Islamic religion. Nor is it limited only to the presence of Islam in Europe today, even if, of course, this is included.
To help understand this Muslim presence on the European continent, we have grouped evidence of its impact into three legacies which cover very different historical periods and geographical zones even if, of course, overlaps and intersections sometimes occur.
The Arab legacy
The Muslim conquest of Spain which began in 711 led to eight centuries of Islamic presence in Western Europe. Its imprint in every sector of learning was to be deep and long-lasting.
The Ottoman legacy
From the 14th century onwards, the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans divided Europe into a Christian Europe in which there were virtually no Muslims, and an Ottoman Europe dominated by Muslim rule but mainly populated by Christians.
The colonial legacy
In the 19th century and the early 20th century, the Ottoman Empire was shrinking on all sides, replaced by the European powers. But it would soon be the turn of the latter to be forced to step aside faced with the desire for independence of the indigenous populations. The decolonization of these people groups that were often Muslim would also leave its mark on Europe as well.
A section dedicated to the contemporary period has also been added to these three legacies.