The Heritage Library at Qatar National Library (QNL) stands out as an essential destination for first-time visitors as well as seasoned history enthusiasts. "This treasure trove is meticulously curated to showcase and preserve the rich tapestry of Qatar and the broader region's history," a statement explained Monday.

There are eight unique collections that the Heritage Library safeguards, each offering a window into the past and an insight into the complex history that has shaped the modern Middle East. The QNL Archives preserve vital historical and cultural documents, including centuries-old original documents, letters, telegrams, certificates, invoices, and multimedia archives that capture the unique culture and heritage of Qatar and the Arab world.

A vast collection of books in European languages includes works from the end of the 15th century to the early 20th century, featuring early European translations of the Qur’an and Arab-Islamic scientific literature.

Showcasing rare examples of early Arabic printed books, the section concerned includes works from the Medici Oriental Press in Italy, Oxford University Press, and other publishers from Europe and the Arab world. QNL holds more than 20 historical globes dating from the 18th to the mid-20th century, including a terrestrial globe made for Britain’s King George III and other rare pieces that reference Qatari cities.

With a focus on Qatar, the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, there is a collection of early photographs that document significant architectural, social and historical moments up to the 1980s. More than 2,400 manuscripts, primarily Qur’anic and other religious texts, are the highlights of QNL's collection, along with manuscripts on the Arabic language, sciences and early Christian-Arab and non-Arabic texts.

Featuring more than 1,200 sheet maps and numerous atlases, a collection focuses on Arabia and the Gulf region, enriched by maps of historically important sites and contributions from renowned cartographers. Maps, manuscripts and books from the Heritage Library can be requested for viewing in the Reading Room.

Dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, a collection includes navigational tools, chronometers, telescopes, astrolabes and even 19th century medicine chests, showcasing the equipment used by historical travellers and explorers. Each item and collection in the Heritage Library not only preserves the rich history and culture of the region but also serves as a bridge connecting the past to the present, inviting visitors to explore and learn about the significant contributions of Qatar and the broader Arab and Islamic world to human knowledge.

Visitors have the added advantage of enjoying this enriching experience completely free of charge. For those interested in gaining deeper insights and a more structured exploration, QNL offers guided tours of the Heritage Library. These tours are led by experts who provide valuable context and detailed explanations of the items and their significance in regional history. A guided tour can be booked through QNL's website, the statement added.
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