On January 15th in Sarajevo, a new library opened to the public : the reborn Gazi Husrev Bey Library which is home to a priceless collection of rare books and manuscripts dating from 1106. The original library was established in 1537 by an Ottoman governor in Bosnia.
Over the centuries, the library grew to house a remarkable collection, including some of the first printed Islamic books, masterpieces of calligraphy and texts in Persian, Turkish, Arabic and Bosnian. During the Bosnian war in the early 1990s, as Sarajevo was under siege, a team of incredibly dedicated volunteers led by the library’s curator Mustafa Jahic smuggled tens of thousands of volumes from the collection to safe houses.
Now two decades later the historic collection has been brought back together for the first time in a new Gazi Husrev Bey Library, which was built with funding from the government of Qatar.
photos © Islamic Arts Magazine