The vision of UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” programme is that the global documentary heritage belongs to us all, it should be fully preserved and protected, and accessible to everyone with due recognition and respect for cultural norms.
Yesterday, at the General UNESCO Conference, Sarajevo Haggadah and the collection from Gazi-Husrev bey Library were officially included in the Memory of the World Register, dedicated to movable world heritage.
Sarajevo Haggadah is an illustrated manuscript originating in Northern Spain in late 14th century. It was brought to Bosnia and Herzegovina by the exiled Sephardi Jews. It is considered one of the most fascinating books of its kind and is kept in the National Museum of Sarajevo.
In Hebrew, haggadah means “a story”. It is written in calligraphy and decorated with miniature illustrations on stained and processed leather. It has 142 parchment pages which makes it unique in the world. Although the author of Haggadah is unknown, it is almost certain it was intended as a wedding gift.
On the other side of the city, a collection of 10,561 unique manuscripts is kept in Gazi-Husrev bey Library. They are integral part of some 20,000 major and minor works from Islamic studies, oriental languages, exceptional literature, philosophy, logic, history, medicine, veterinary studies, mathematics, astronomy and other sciences.
The oldest preserved manuscript from this collection dates back to 1104. Many manuscripts contain extraordinary calligraphy and various decorations. The manuscript collection of Gazi-Husrev bey Library represents 5% of all the remaining written monuments from Ottoman period in Bosnia and Herzegovina and thus, today it is considered to be one of the most valuable collections of its kind in the Balkans.