1,000-year-old manuscripts among display in Baghdad

An exhibition of rare books and manuscripts, some of which are more than a thousand years old, opened on Sunday under the banner “Heritage and Epidemics.” Priceless manuscripts, written in eight languages, are part of the exhibition which has been organised by the Iraqi Manuscripts House in Baghdad. 

Ahmed Al-Alyawi, director general of the library and archives department at the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, said that this exhibition is being held as part of the activities of the Arab Manuscript Day, which was established at a meeting of Arab culture ministers in 2013. 

He added that this year’s exhibition had taken the slogan “Heritage and Epidemics”, in order to highlight the procedures of conservation and preservation of manuscripts, which face the threat of damage and disappearance. 

Alyawi explained that this year, the exhibition would pay more attention to the world of manuscripts; shedding light on these great treasures that are part of the collective memories of whole peoples, stressing that Iraq boasts an exceptionally rich collection of original manuscripts. 

Alongside the exhibition, a symposium will be attended by the Iraqi Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, and representatives of Arab and international diplomatic missions, as well as researchers and postgraduate students at Iraqi universities. 

The manuscripts displayed will be in many languages, including Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Cyrillic, Hebrew, English, French and German, and include subjects in the fields of jurisprudence, literature, poetry, language, politics, and mysticism. 

Alyawi pointed out that the history of these manuscripts is reflected by their scripts, calligraphy, the paper and inks used. He emphasised that there are no similar manuscripts in the world. “Ghobarias” Korans will also be on display at the exhibition.

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