Oldest Libraries in The World

June 21, 2023
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world's oldest library

The al-Qarawiyyin university, library, and mosque were founded by Fatima El-Fihriya in 859 โ€” 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.

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.

Samia Errazouki/AP Images

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.

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.

Samia Errazouki/AP Images

The al-Qarawiyyin university, library, and mosque were founded by Fatima El-Fihriya in 859 โ€” around the time early forms of algebra were being invented.Source: NPR

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.

Samia Errazouki/AP Images

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.

Samia Errazouki/AP Images

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Source: www.businessinsider.com
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Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb, that he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies moldering before him?
Washington Irving
(1783-1859)