About us

The Oriental Institute (OI) is a public non-university research institution. Established in 1922, just six years after SOAS in London, OI is one of the oldest institutions dedicated to the study of Oriental cultures in Central and Eastern Europe. Since 1993, it falls administratively under the auspices of the Czech Academy of Sciences, an umbrella research institution similar in function to its counterparts in continental Europe, such as the CNRS in France. In a country such as the Czech Republic, where university departments dealing with Oriental studies tend to be small and understaffed, the structure of non-university research bodies brings numerous benefits. Among other things, scholars are enabled to pursue their specializations according to the needs of relevant fields of study, aiming correspondingly at the highest levels of research quality. The framework of the Institute allows for a flexible and open-ended approach to research initiatives in Asia-related topics, creating, in effect, an ideal environment for interdisciplinary research. At the moment, our researchers are focusing on the Arab World, Israel, India, China, and the ancient Near East. We publish two academic journals: Archiv orientalni in English and Novy Orient in Czech. Our library holds over 300,000 books, manuscripts and periodicals. This includes the Lu Xun library, which houses a rare approximately 70,000-item collection of Chinese sources, sought after by scholars from around the world.