DOHA: Public interested to access the Qatar National Library (QNL)’s online resources are requested to register during an Open Day on Thursday.
Free access will be provided to the data base through a barcode for any registered member said QNL’s Project Director Dr Claudia Lux during a media tour held yesterday to showcase the ‘Arab and Heritage Collection.’
QNL’s Open Day will be held at ‘Arab and Heritage Collection’ building situated in Al Luqta area in Doha near the Weapon Museum.
It will give an opportunity for the community to explore and enjoy the remarkable contents of the collection.
Arab and Heritage Collection — the heart of the QNL includes a rare trove of manuscripts, books, and artefacts that document a wealth of Arab-Islamic civilisation and human thought.
The rare collection includes 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.’ While it also has a map by Gorden Cheers an Australian cartographer in 2011.
“The Open Day will specially recognise the archaeological site Al Zubarah, which Unesco declared as Qatar’s first entry on to the World Heritage list,” said Dr Lux.
The event will mark the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which has been established to celebrate the diversity of heritage throughout the world.
The Open Day will shed special focus on 19th century rare travel documents and maps which highlights Al Zubarah.
Founded in 1979 by H E Sheikh Hassan bin Muhammad Al Thani, the Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection has a rich collection of historical sources about Qatar, Arabian Gulf and several other Arab nations.
The collection was later handed over to the Qatar Foundation in 2005 and 95 percent of the is preserved and showcased was from Sheikh Al Thani, said Dr Joachim Gierlichs, QNL’s Associate Director for Special Collections.
The Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection features 600 historical maps up to 2,400 precious manuscripts, among them ‘Mushafs’ (Holy Quran) and Arabic literature, with a primary focus on sciences such as geography, astronomy, mathematics and others belong to 13th to 14th century.
The collection has only one English manuscript and the rest in Arabic.
Maps include two continents of Asia and Africa particularly the Arabian Gulf. They document the evolution of cartography during the five centuries.
Artefacts from the early European reception (early prints in Latin from the 15th to17th Century), such as the famous ‘Qanon’ of Avicenna (Ibn Sina) are also part of the collection.