Project Description

Many cultures have met here since ancient times. The holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims founded by the prophet David. The three monotheistic religions, which go back to the common prophet Abraham, have fought each other here, but also often lived together in peace.

Under the rule of Babylonians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuks and Ottomans, the city was also the target of the Crusades.

Many epics such as the Gerusaleme Liberata by Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) tell heroic knightly stories from a Christian point of view about the Crusades, which served as a model for many baroque operas (e.g. Handel’s Rinaldo or Gluck’s Armida). After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans became the focus of world history. Expansion efforts towards the west as far as Vienna later brought not only the “fear of Turks” but also the “Alla Turca”, Turkish fashion to Europe. The empire of the ruler over the believers extends over 3 continents. Thus also 1516 under Sultan Selim I. Jerusalem was conquered. During the 1st World War in 1917 the governor handed over the city to the British without a fight to prevent the destruction of the historical sites. 400 years of Ottoman rule meant a great influence of Ottoman culture in this part of the world.

In 1493, the Ottomans under Bajezet II, (there is an opera by Vivaldi entitled Bajezet), had taken the Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I into their kingdom. The Sultan issued a decree welcoming the Jews throughout the Empire, allowing many persecuted Jews from Europe to emigrate to the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul, the capital of the empire, had been a world city since the Byzantines, where many cultures and religions met and lived. Many Christians and Jews, such as Gazanfer Aga (a Venetian), who became the closest advisor and friend of Sultan Selim from his court page, or Kiliç Ali, a Calabrian, who was admiral of the Sultan at the time of Süleyman the Magnificent (1494-1566) and made the Mediterranean unsafe, were also in the Ottoman leadership, the Vezirs. This corsair appears in some Italian cantatas of the early 17th century. (e.g. Canto Fatima a cantata of an anonymous composer around 1600). The Polish musician, clergyman and Huguenot Wojciech Bobowski (1610-1685), who fell into the hands of Tartars invading eastern Poland and was sold as a slave to the Ottoman court, writes in his book about life in the Seraglio, which served many Jews and Christians at court. Wojciech later converted to Islam and called himself Ali Ufki. We owe him the tradition of Turkish music from this time. Compositions from his feather are also included here.


Turkish fashion not only brings coffee, spices and fine yarn to Europe, but also the Alla Turca in music. Operas such as Solimano by Hasse, La Dori by Cesti, Vivaldi’s Bajezet and of course Mozart’s Abduction deserve special mention here.

Throughout the empire an amalgam of cultures is created in Jerusalem as well. What is special about Jerusalem is the philosophical and religious aspect, which emphasizes the uniqueness of this city. An oriental-Turkish-Mediterranean cuisine, music that the experienced listener can only distinguish by language and the common roots of Jews, Christians and Muslims in this city show that Jerusalem is the cradle of many cultures.

The Pilgrimage City for Jews, Christians and Muslims

Programm Jerusalem download hier klicken

CD was produced in collaboration with Heidelberger Frühling and SWR at the end of March in Heidelberg. Release end 2017

Artikel von Matthias Roth Rhein-Neckar Zeitung


Mehmet C. Yesilcay-Oud, Colascione
Massimiliano Toni-Cembalo
Serkan Mesut Halili-Kanun
Volkan Yılmaz-Ney
Derya Türkan-Kemençe
Dmitry Lepekhov-Violine
Margherita Pupulin-Violine
Maria Pache-Viola
Elisabeth Ragaller-Nyckelharpa
Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli-Sopran (Mailand)
Filippo Mineccia-Counter (Florenz)
Ibrahim Suat Erbay-Gesang (Istanbul)
Michal Elia Kamal-Gesang (Jerusalem)
Felix Stross-Cello
Rüdiger Kurz-Kontrabass
Daniel Zapico-Theorbe, Barockgitarre
Ozan Pars-Perkussion
Joss Turnbull-Perkussion