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Emperor and Sultan

Neighbours in the Heart of Europe 1600–1700


When this major state exhibition opens in Karlsruhe on 19.10.2019, “Emperor and Sultan” will offer visitors access to a range of extraordinary exhibits. Perhaps most notably, the “Blue Tent” will be on show – an Ottoman tent from the 17th century which is so opulently embroidered that entering it is like walking into a paradise garden. The tent is thought to have been stolen at the Battle of Vienna when the Ottomans pushed to conquer the home city of the Habsburg Emperor. This exhibition focuses on the conflicts between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs, as well as how these two great empires influenced each other and shared diplomatic ties. It’s also no coincidence that the exhibition is appearing in Karlsruhe: The city is home to one of the largest collections of Ottoman artefacts, the so-called “Türkenbeute” – a collection assembled by the Baden margraves from the 17th-century Turkish wars.

The museum selected a special format for the audio guide, tasking us with producing a “story guide” in German and English. The concept is based on oriental story-telling and anchors the exhibits within a fictional historical story. The story sees a Hungarian freedom fighter meet a German journalist. Using Hungary as an example, the freedom fighter explains the chequered relationship between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs. In addition, younger visitors can enjoy a children’s audio guide featuring an exciting trip on a magic carpet.

Image: Polish turban helmet, 17th century, National Museum Krakow

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