Unique books under exclusive protection of National Library
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
The National Library Director Tuncel Acar says the manuscripts kept in the library have been written on materials like papyrus, leather, cotton panel and paper, and none of them are similar to each other.Manuscripts written in the fields of history, religion, philosophy, geography, astrology and physical sciences – among the most important pieces of Turkish cultural heritage – have been stored in the depot of the National Library in Ankara with very special methods.
The National Library, which opened in a small office in the National Education Ministry General Directorate of Libraries and Publications on April 15, 1946, today keeps nearly 28,000 unique handwritten manuscripts in its depot.
National Library Director Tuncel Acar said the manuscripts, the oldest of which dates back to the 10th century, reveal a history of 900 years. He said the works had been written on materials like papyrus, leather, cotton panel and paper, and none of the manuscripts were similar to each other, which was very important to determine the value of the works.
How the works preserved
Acar said the most important handwritten manuscripts were on display at the Manuscript Museum and others had been kept in the depot. He explained how the works were preserved. He said they had established the Pathology and Restoration Center within the body of the library for the restoration and maintenance of the books.
“We open the windows and ventilate the depots in good weather,” Acar said. “The humidity and warmth level of depots, where books, especially the ones with Arabic letters, are being kept, should be available for book health. Books should not be exposed to direct sunlight. The cleaning of depots is under the control of an official. Book cleaning is very important since book bugs reproduce in unventilated and humid environments. Books are removed from their place every year and cleaned in dry places.”
First Turkish encyclopedia
Acar said 30 Korans and manuscripts from the library were being displayed at the Manuscript Museum. “The museum also displays the first Ottoman Turkish newspaper Takvim-i Vekayi, which was first published in 1831 within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Also, we have ‘Muradname,’ which was written for Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s father Sultan Murad II and is regarded as the first Turkish encyclopedia. Also, there is a 900-year-old Bible that was found in Hagia Sophia during the conquest of Istanbul as well as lots of hand-written Korans.”
He said chess was explained in detail in “Muradname,” the first work providing information on lots of issues from medicine to music.
Acar said there were very strict security measures in the National Library, which is the first address of researchers in Turkey thanks to the number and quality of books it kept. “All collections in the library have been transferred to a computer in case of any damage.”
He also said the National Library was the first Turkish institute that entered the digital library of the European Union, Europeana. “The Europeana project aims to gather all data of the European countries under the same roof. For the project, countries have formed their own data and prepared digital libraries. Then they merged their data in this project,” he said.