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Manuscript fund

In the manuscript fund of Gazi Husrev-bey Library there is a total of 10.561 manuscripts in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Bosnian languages.

Out of them, 60 percent are in Arabic, around 30 percent in Turkish, and the rest in Persian and Bosnian (written in Arebica). Although many of these manuscripts originate from major Islamic canters like Mecca, Medina, Cairo, Bagdad, Damascus, Istanbul and other places, there is a significant number of manuscripts (written or copied)  originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina; not just from larger towns but  from minor places as well.


Taking into consideration that since its foundation in 1537, the Gazi Husrev-bey Library has shared the fate of Sarajevo which had been hit by numerous disasters (floods, fires, and wars), only a couple of manuscripts from its original fund with a seal by Gazi Husrev-bey himself have been saved. Nevertheless, the manuscript fund over the last 150 years has been constantly expanding and today the Library fund represents the richest treasure of this kind in and beyond Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This fact is primarily due to the inflow of manuscripts from other libraries, including those by Osman Šehdija and Abdulah Kantamirija from Sarajevo, Hajji Mehmed Karađoz-bey from Mostar, Elči Ibrahim-pasha from Travnik, Hajji Halil-effendi from Gračanice, Hasan Nazir from Foča, Ðumišić madrasah from Sarajevo, Ibrahim-pasha madrasah from Počitelj; private libraries of Hasan Bojić, Ahmed Mutevelić, Mustaj-bey Dženetić, families Džinić, Muzaferija, Hromić, Saračević and Kasumagić, as well as the libraries of Muhamed Enveri Kadić, Mehmed Handžić, Hilmija Hatibović, Osman Asaf Sokolović, Muhamed Hadžijahić, and many others. The most recent contributions are made by the Čaršimamović and Ðumišić families.

 

The manuscripts of the Library also include the works by authors born in Bosnia and Herzegovina such as Hasan Kafi Akhisari (died 1616), Mustafa Ejubović called Šejh Jujo (died 1707), Ahmed Bejazić (died 1686), Alaudin Ali Dede Mostari (died 1598), Ahmed ibn Mustafa Mostari (died 1776), Ibrahim Opijač (died 1725), Shaykh al Islam Mustafa Bali-zade (died 1663), Derviš-paša Bajezidagić (died 1603), Ahmed Sudi (died 1598), Muhamed Musić Allamek (died 1636), Muhamed Nerkesi (died 1635), and many others.


The oldest manuscript in the Gazi Husrev-bey Library is the fourth volume of the famous theological and mystical work by Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (died 1111) copied on the 1st of jumade-l-evvela 500/1106, which means during the author's life. The second oldest manuscripts are the manuscript of the same work from 1131, a codex of Firdevs el-ahbar hadiths from 1151, and a commentary on the Qur’an Kitab el-keshf ve el-bejan Ebu Ishak en-Nisaburi from 1176. From the above mentioned 10.561 manuscripts kept in the Gazi Husrev-bey Library, close to 300 where written before 1500. Among these manuscripts are those which, with their decorations, ornaments, and artistic impressions, can be counted as masterpieces and unique works of oriental calligraphy. In the first place, those are the ajza of Mehmed-pasha Sokolović, Mushaf of Fadil-pasha Šerifović, Hafiz's divan songs with portrait miniatures, Jami's collection of songs Tuhfe el-ahrar, and dozens of luxuriously decorated mushafs, collections of prayers, and divan poetry in Turkish and Persian languages.

So far, 10.190 manuscripts have been catalogued into eighteen volumes of catalogues.  All manuscripts in the Gazi Husrev-bey Library have been copied on micro films.