Qatar National Library (QNL) will be hosting a special this Thursday for all members of the community to explore and enjoy its Heritage Collection. The compilation includes a rare trove of manuscripts, books, and artefacts documenting a wealth of Arab-Islamic civilisation and human thought.
The Heritage Collection will reside in the centre of Qatar National Library’s new building, which has been designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas. QNL, a member of Qatar Foundation, will for the first time provide the public with the opportunity to view the collection up-close in celebration of the International Day for Monuments and Sites this year, which is being held under the theme ‘Heritage of Education’.
The International Day for Monuments and Sites is held on April 18 every year and has been established to celebrate the diversity of heritage throughout the world. The day was proposed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites in 1982 and approved by the General Assembly of Unesco in 1983. This year, libraries, schools, universities and academies around the world will celebrate the history of education across cultures and geographies by exploring and preserving valued cultural assets such as Qatar’s Heritage Collection.
Beginning in the 1980s with Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani, the Heritage Collection is an unparalleled contribution of historical sources about Qatar, including writings by travellers and explorers who visited the Arabian Gulf region. Among its more than 100,000 works, the collection contains an edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia, which was printed in Rome in 1478 and is the oldest printed map showing the name of Qatar or referred to in Latin as ‘Catara’. The collection also houses a rare volume of pictures consisting of the first detailed photographs of Mecca taken in 1888 by Dutch scholar Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje.
H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, announced the new Qatar National Library on November 19, 2012. Qatar National Library is helping to bridge Qatar’s heritage with its future by preserving the nation’s rich cultural and historical record and by providing the necessary tools for lifelong learning, invention, and research.
Qatar National Library will be offering the public tours to shed light on the Heritage Collection’s most treasured items. An exclusive programme for students from local schools will take place in the morning. Tours will commence at 1pm and continue until 6pm. Qatar National Library’s Heritage Collection is currently housed at 71 Al Maha Street, off Luqta Street near Immigration Roundabout.
To get instant and free access to Qatar National Library’s digital media collections, including concerts, documentaries, and the latest bestsellers, visit: www.qnl.qa. For those who are unable to attend on April 18, visit www.qnl.qa/visit-request-form to fill in a request for a tour of the Heritage Collection.
Commenting on the upcoming event, Dr Claudia Lux, Qatar National Library’s Project Director said: “The Heritage Collection – the heart of the new Qatar National Library – is a place families, students, researchers and tourists can see, explore, and enjoy now. On the occasion of the International Day for Monuments and Sites, the Qatar National Library is proud to join with families, foreign dignitaries and cultural luminaries to explore the rich history of human thought that we all share and which is reflected so comprehensively in our Heritage Collection.”
“With ambitious efforts to digitise and share these rare materials already underway, the Qatar National Library is doing its part to bridge Qatar’s rich heritage with its future using knowledge.”
The library is a rich source of Arab and Islamic heritage. First there’s the Arabic Collection, which contains classic of early Arabic and Islamic literature as well as manuscripts, printed books, magazines and newspapers. Alongside is the Foreign Collection, with works in Latin, German, Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Dutch and other languages, made up of books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers and magazines that together represent a valuable and varied source of knowledge from all those who have studied and researched the history of the Gulf and the Middle East.
The maps section contains about 600 hundred hand-drawn and printed maps. It also charts political, social and geographical change in the Gulf region, starting with the first map, engraved in 1978, and continuing through the Gulf map produced by the Ottomans, the Red Sea map drawn up by French consuls and other rare cartographical records. The collection also comprises a number of globes from the last 300 years, an assortment of old atlases, compilations of depictions of the world and its continents, with an emphasis in the Gulf region.
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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