This place has its own story, and the first lines never would have been written without Gazi Husrev Bey, a Bosnian governor, who decided to use his great fortune for the common good and for eternity. Gazi Husrev Bey’s Library in Sarajevo, which is considered the oldest public library in BiH, is part of his large legacy, already serving as a place of education for 482 years, just as the respected waqif (benefactor) wanted.
The library collection represents its unique treasure. It is enough to mention that there are currently around one hundred thousand codices, printed books, magazines and documents in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Bosnian and some other European languages. Of those, over 10,500 library units are made up of codices with around 20,000 larger and smaller works of Islamic sciences, Oriental languages, fine literature, philosophy, logic, history, medicine, veterinary medicine, mathematics, astronomy and other sciences. The oldest manuscript which is kept here is Ihya’ Ulum al-Din, by Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, copied back in 1105.
For tourists, it will surely be a special experience to step into the Museum of the library. Invaluable manuscripts are exhibited there, which are in some way also artworks, due to the illuminations which decorate them. In addition, there are also levhas, writing tools from ancient times, clothing, rural and urban traditional dress from the 19th century, ancient tombstones, handmade globes from 1881, containers for Zam Zam water brought as gifts from Hajj, gold jewellery, kibletname – tools for determining the direction of the Qibla, and various other objects which paint a picture of the life, interests and achievements of mankind in the past. The Museum of Gazi Husrev Bey’s Library also contains artefacts about the history of literacy, as well as creations related to Islamic themes and the history of culture in BiH.
The entrance fee is BAM 3, and you can visit the museum on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The library is located at the address of Gazi Husrev-begova 46, Sarajevo.