The first-of-its-kind in the region book fair has attracted hundreds of publishers from all around the world to display their unique collections to the public.
Are you a heritage admirer? Well, we have good news for you!
The extraordinary Doha International Book Fair is displaying unique collections of manuscripts, masterpieces, rare publications and an historic Quran collection—all things you definitely don’t want to miss.
Some of the collections date back almost 800 years, to the early days of the Ottoman Empire, during the reign of Sultan Murad I. The collection is worth over one million QAR and its currently on display in the heart of Doha, surrounded by hundreds of other distinctive collections from internationally renowned publishers.
The event, which will be held until Saturday, is hosting 335 publishing houses from all over the world as well as prominent Qatari entities to celebrate reading, art and culture. It aims to celebrate the importance of knowledge and give all readers a golden chance to expand their collections.
For all those heritage and culture enthusiasts, here are some displays to keep a look out for when visiting the fair this week, at the Doha Exhibition & Convention Centre.
Legacies of Muslim Scholars
The Syrian ‘Global Art’ Library is displaying a unique and rare collection that documents a blend of Arab culture, religion and history. The library specialises in collecting rare manuscripts and ancient publications, bringing an extraordinary display to the 10-day event for all visitors.
The institution also owns a huge collection of archaeological artifacts, including swords, shields and a number of Islamic heritage manuscripts for all collection admirers.
The manuscripts on show are over 100,000 QAR in value, belonging to various pioneers in the Islamic tradition, namely Ibn Sina, Ibn al-Nafis, Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Handwritten works of other prominent scholars, including doctrinal and scientific manuscripts, dating back 150 to 700 years, are also included in the display.
Syrian publisher Muslim Amini, told Qatar News Agency that the financial value of such rare manuscripts and anecdotes depend on the age and identity of the calligrapher. The older the manuscript, the higher it is in value.
Rare Qur’an Collections
The Global Art Library also has a distinctive display of a rare Qur’an collection from Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and various other Arab and Islamic countries, dating back more than 800 years.
The library provides a special treat with the opportunity to see a rare Qur’an that once belonged to Sultan Murad I, the third Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Completing their Ottoman collection, it further displays the astrolabe of Sultan Abdul Hamid.
The collection includes a hand-written 3-meter-long Qur’an made of rice paper from Indonesia, and another one and a half meters by two meters Qur’an, that dates back 70 to 80 years.
The prices of the historical copies of the Qur’an start from 5,000 dollars and can reach up to 5 million, said the publisher, explaining that the environment in which the books are displayed often affects their value.
The Abdul Aziz Al-Bohashem Al-Sayed Library, which specialises in rare Qatari and GCC-related publications, boasts its collection at the DECC with works as old as 200 years.
The library also displays periodicals dating from the 1950s and 1960s, and tens of rare books on Art and Gulf Heritage.
However, what might catch your eye the most is the unique collection of first editions belonging to Qatar’s founder, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad bin Thani, as well as rare original editions of Qatar’s old poets, including Al-Faihani, Al Tabtabai and Al Ma’awdah.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, the library also has several collections of pieces that were famous in the 60s through to the 80s.