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The Qatar National Library (QNL) marked Qatar National Day with a special tourof its cherished Heritage Collection for Aspire Academy students. The visit offered the youths a unique opportunity to exploreQatar’s rich history.
QNL’s Arab and Islamic Heritage Collection is among the most important aspects of Qatar’s cultural landscape aligned with its vision of ‘bridging with knowledge Qatar's heritage and future’. The collection includesa treasure troveof rarebooks, manuscriptsandartefacts that document therichness ofthe Arabic and Islamic civilisations.
During the tour at QNL’s Heritage Collection Building, students gained first-hand insight into the rare archive, learning about the significant contributions Arab and Muslim scholars made, not only to world history but to human thought as well. One item that particularly interested the students was Ptolemy’s Geographia, printed in Rome in 1478. It is the oldest printed map showing the name of Qatar, referred to in Latin as Catara.
Guided by WalidAbdulwahed, QNL’s Library Research officer, the students were joined by Saadi AlSaid, QNL’s Associate Director for Administration and Planning.
Commenting on the importance of the student tour, Saadi AlSaid said, “Qatar National Library is proud to be celebrating Qatar National Day by offeringthe country’s youth such a special opportunity to explore Arabic and Islamic historythrough our Heritage Collection.It is essentially a rich repository, holding hundreds of artefacts of immense value to Qatari history and to the history of humans as a whole.”
The Heritage Collection was founded by Sheikh Hassan Bin Muhammad Al Thani in 1979 as part of an unprecedented initiative to showcase the wealth of historical sources about Qatar, including writings by travellers and explorers who visited the Arabian Gulf region.
Preparations are underway to relocate this collection to its own purpose-built site in QNL’s new location in Education City, where it will hold the pride of the place that it deserves. The new spectacular library building was designed by renowned architect, Rem Koolhaas and is planned to open in 2015.