Qatar National Library (QNL), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, is offering members of the public a special chance to tour its remarkable Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection during an Open Day this month. It follows the success of last year’s event that saw hundreds of residents marvelling at QNL’s most prized and historic artefacts.
Taking place on Thursday 17th April 2014, this year’s Open Day will specially recognise the archaeological site Al Zubarah, which UNESCO declared as Qatar’s first entry on to the World Heritage list last summer.
The event will mark the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which has been established to celebrate the diversity of heritage throughout the world.
QNL’s Project Director Dr Claudia Lux, said, “QNL’s Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection Open Day will highlight the significant role of Al Zubarah in Qatar’s history, enabling visitors to explore the library’s collection of maps, books and historic globes that highlight Qatar’s rich heritage. Visitors will also be able to hear detailed explanations about the precious collection by QNL’s very own Heritage Collection expert curators.” She added, “The Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection – the heart of the new Qatar National Library – is among the most important aspects of Qatar’s cultural landscape, expressing the depth and richness of Arab-Islamic civilisation. Therefore, this is a great chance to introduce this valuable trove of heritage and cultural items we proudly have to families, students, researchers, and foreign and cultural dignitaries in Qatar. We are honoured that the precious collection attracts diplomats and intellects from all over the world including the recent visit to Qatar by His Royal Highness Prince Charles The Prince of Wales.”
The Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection is a magnificent national resource that includes writings by travellers and explorers who visited the Arabian Gulf region over the centuries, Arab manuscripts, historical maps and globes, as well as scientific instruments and early photography. Founded in 1979 by His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Muhammad Al Thani, the Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection is an unparalleled contribution of historical sources about Qatar and the region.
Dr Joachim Gierlichs, QNL’s Associate Director for Special Collections, said, “Among the 600 historical maps preserved by QNL is one of Ptolemy’s map printed in Rome in 1478, which is the oldest map in the collection showing the name of Qatar, referred to in Latin as ‘Catara’.”
QNL’s collection features up to 2,400 precious manuscripts, among them ‘Mushafs’ (Holy Qur’an) and Arabic literature, with a primary focus on sciences such as geography, astronomy, mathematics and others. This is complemented by artefacts from the early European reception (early prints in Latin from the 15th – 17th Century), such as the famous ‘Qanon’ of Avicenna (Ibn Sina).
Upon completion of Qatar National Library’s new building in Education City, the Heritage Collection will move from its present location to be housed in the centre of renowned architect Rem Koolhaas’ impressive structure. International Day for Monuments and Sites was designated by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983 following a proposal by the International Council on Monuments and Sites.
The Open Day takes place at QNL’s temporary Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection Building on Thursday 17th April between 1:00pm and 5:00pm. It is located at 71 Al-Maha Street, Al-Luqta, Doha.
For more information please contact:
Gihan M. Baraka
Qatar National Library’s Media Contact: