Felix Philipp Kanitz

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Felix Philipp Kanitz (Bulgarian and Serbian Cyrillic: Феликѝ Филип Каниц) (2 August 1829-8 January 1904) was an Austro-Hungarian naturalist, geographer, ethnographer, archaeologist and author of travel notes.

A drawing of the first factory in the Balkans (opened in 1833 in Sliven, modern Bulgaria) by Felix Kanitz

Kanitz was born in Budapest to a rich Jewish family and enrolled in art in the University of Vienna in 1846, at the age of seventeen.[1] He travelled extensively after 1850, visiting Germany, France, Belgium and Italy. He settled in Vienna in 1856 and undertook a journey to Dalmatia in the Balkans in 1858, which marked the beginning of his thorough research of the South Slavs. Apart from Dalmatia, he also visited Herzegovina, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia. He worked on the topic until 1889, the knowledge he gathered being characterized as particularly important for the period. A good painter and drawer, Kanitz was also the author of a number of black and white drawings related to the life in the Balkans. Born a Jew, he later converted to Christianity.[1]

Between 1870 and 1874 he was the first custodian of the Anthropologisch-Urgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna.[2] He died in the Austrian capital on 8 January 1904.

Kanitz is regarded as one of the first profound ethnographers of the South Slavs. As such, he has earned great respect particularly in modern Serbia and Bulgaria. A village in Vidin Province in northwestern Bulgaria[3] and a street in Sofia are named after him.


  • Die römischen Funde in Serbien (The Roman Finds in Serbia). Vienna (1861).
  • Serbiens byzantinische Monumente (The Byzantine Monuments of Serbia). Vienna (1862).
  • Reise in Südserbien und Nordbulgarien (A Journey to South Serbia and North Bulgaria). Vienna (1868).
  • Serbien - historisch-ethnographische Reisestudien (Serbia - Ethnographic and Historical Travel Studies). Leipzig (1868).
  • Katechismus der Ornamentik (Catechism of the Decoration). Leipzig (1877).
  • Donau-Bulgarien und der Balkan (Danubian Bulgaria and the Balkans). Three volumes. Leipzig (1882).
  • Römische Studien in Serbien (Roman Studies in Serbia). Vienna (1892).
  • Das Königreich Serbien und das Serbenvolk von der Römerzeit bis zur Gegenwart (The Kingdom of Serbia and the Serbian People from Roman Times until the Present). First volume. Leipzig (1904).


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