Our guest researcher, PhD student Fien De Block
I came to Cairo to delve into the manuscript collection of the Egyptian National Library and Archives (Dār al-Kutub wa-l-wathā’iq al-qawmiyya) for my PhD. I am a PhD researcher at the University of Ghent in Belgium, but the NVIC has become my home office for the next few months. Amidst the never-ending hustle and bustle of the city, my desk at the institute offers just the kind of bubble of peace and quiet I need in order to process my manuscript findings and to plan next day’s treasure hunt for yet another microfilm or manuscript at the National Library. In the institute’s library I found the perfect combination of good books, friendly, enthusiastic people and nice events such as lectures or movie nights. My historical research is focused on astronomical and astrological knowledge practices in the 15th century Mamluk sultanate. Therefore, I am happy to be able to conduct my research in this academic institute, in the middle of what once was the sultanate's capital city.