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Bosnia opens library housing ancient Islamic manuscripts

Published on Jan 16, 2014 6:36 AM

SARAJEVO (AFP) - Bosnia opened on Wednesday a new library to house its ancient Islamic manuscripts, which were saved from destruction during the 1992-1995 war by residents who hid them in eight different locations.

The Gazi Husrev-beg library houses more than 100,000 items, the oldest being an Arabic-language handwritten manuscript dating to 1106.

During the 1990s inter-ethnic war in Bosnia and siege of Sarajevo, the collection had been hidden, with 500 of the most valuable manuscripts and books locked up in a bank vault.

To eliminate the threat that the items could one day be lost, "all manuscripts are digitised and copies are saved at three different places around the world", said Mr Ahmed Alibasic, who chairs the library's management board.

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