Friedrich Konrad Hornemann from Hildesheim was the first European of the modern era who, in 1798, crossed the north-eastern Sahara. The account of his journey, published later, contains important information on the western Saharan landscape, which was previously unknown, as well as about the people who lived there and in Sudan.
Dressed as a Muslim, Hornemann traveled in a caravan from Cairo via the oasis Siwah to Mursuk (which is part of Libya nowadays). From Tripoli he sent his accounts and his maps to his employer, the London-based African Society. No accounts of his subsequent travels from Mursuk via Bornu and Lake Tchad to Niger are known. Hornemann is said to have died in 1801 at the river Niger.
The Hornemann Institute bears his name in memoriam of this important explorer from Hildesheim, who knew how to meet other cultures with respect.