Digitising and First Aid to Documentary Heritage of “Manuscripts Collection of the Great Omari Mosque Library” - Phase II

The library of the Great Omari Mosque is one of the most important and oldest national library and archive centres in Palestine. However, it is very vulnerable and at risk due to the lack of proper treatment and preservation in addition to the impact of conflicts and air strikes.

The library of the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza was established during the Mamluk era in 1277 CE. The library holds unique and valuable manuscripts, including, for example, The Book of Sufi Poems of Ibn-Zokaa (14th century), AlKateeb Al-Temerashi book (18th century), the books of famous Gaza jurists such as Sheikh Al-Tabbaa, Sheikh Skaike, Khalil Alhelo, Abd-Alqader Alqusain and others. The collection centres on subjects such as religion, philosophy, medicine and education.

The collection is very fragile. Due to the instability of the region, some manuscripts were burnt, some parts are lost, and the Department of Manuscripts building was partially destroyed during air attacks. The collection is not accessible, as it would put the original material at great risk of mishandling. The poor environmental conditions in the building further endanger the manuscripts.

Following a previous digitisation project funded by the Prince Claus Fund and the Whiting Foundation, the project digitised 211 manuscripts, containing more than 34,000 pages, and 2,500 manuscript fragments. A full catalogue of the collection was created and all material was moved to acid-free boxes in the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs - Department of Manuscripts in Gaza. Digitised copies are available at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library and at the British Library.

Project Details

Location: Gaza, Palestine, State of Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Hill Museum & Manuscript Library Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £47,890 Commencement Date: 09/2019 Project Status: Completed
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