The oldest library in the world

 world's oldest library

1,157 years after it first opened, the world's oldest library has finally been restored and unveiled to the public.
Located in Fez, Morocco, the al-Qarawiyyin library is part of the world's oldest continually operating university, al-Qarawiyyin University, which opened in 859. The library got several small additions and renovations over its millennium-long existence, but it wasn't until 2012 that Canadian-Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni decided to give it a total face lift.
To show off al-Qarawiyyin's new appearance, the university has opened the space, which had previously been reserved for academics and theologians, to the general public.
Take a look inside.

The al-Qarawiyyin university, library, and mosque were founded by Fatima El-Fihriya in 859 — around the time early forms of algebra were being invented.

The al-Qarawiyyin university, library, and mosque were founded by Fatima El-Fihriya in 859 — around the time early forms of algebra were being invented.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

Fittingly, El-Fihriya attended the university she helped to found. The library still has her original diploma: a wooden board.

Fittingly, El-Fihriya attended the university she helped to found. The library still has her original diploma: a wooden board.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

Today, thanks to Aziza Chaouni's four-year renovation, the al-Qarawiyyin library features restored fountains and delicately rehabilitated texts, many of them original religious works.

Today, thanks to Aziza Chaouni's four-year renovation, the al-Qarawiyyin library features restored fountains and delicately rehabilitated texts, many of them original religious works.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

The interior is a stunning combination of intricate mosaics and stark white archways.

The interior is a stunning combination of intricate mosaics and stark white archways.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

Of course, the world's oldest library needs a dedicated reading room.

Of course, the world's oldest library needs a dedicated reading room.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

Al-Qarawiyyin is home to approximately 4,000 manuscripts, NPR reports. There are 9th-century Qurans written in Kufic calligraphy and the oldest known accounts of the life of the prophet Muhammed.

Al-Qarawiyyin is home to approximately 4,000 manuscripts, NPR reports. There are 9th-century Qurans written in Kufic calligraphy and the oldest known accounts of the life of the prophet Muhammed.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images
SourceNPR

Abdelfattah Bougchouf is the curator of the impressive collection. It's his responsibility to make sure the books are cared for and properly handled.

Abdelfattah Bougchouf is the curator of the impressive collection. It's his responsibility to make sure the books are cared for and properly handled.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

One such book is the original "Muqadimmah," a famous 14th-century text from the North African historian Ibn Khaldun.

One such book is the original "Muqadimmah," a famous 14th-century text from the North African historian Ibn Khaldun.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

Another is the original manuscript detailing an ancient legal system of Islam, written in calligraphy.

Another is the original manuscript detailing an ancient legal system of Islam, written in calligraphy.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

But perhaps the most treasured work of the library is the original 9th-century Quran, still in its original binding. It is the oldest work in the entire collection.

But perhaps the most treasured work of the library is the original 9th-century Quran, still in its original binding. It is the oldest work in the entire collection.
Samia Errazouki/AP Images

Only a month after it opened to the public, visitors from all over the world are already flocking to glimpse a piece of history.

Only a month after it opened to the public, visitors from all over the world are already flocking to glimpse a piece of history.
Wikimedia Commons

ضع تعليقك هنا
الإبتسامات إخفاء