Manuscripts Heritage


The Manuscripts heritage includes the holdings of big libraries with the possibility of documenting some outstanding collections. The unit already has succeeded in documenting huge numbers in collaboration with other institutions such as the National Library of Egypt, Al-Azhar Library, and library of the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf). Planning is done to work with all institutions that hold enormous number of manuscripts. The Manuscripts heritage aims at preserving the Arab and Islamic scientific cultural heritage presented in the wealth of knowledge recorded in scientific manuscripts inside Egypt and outside it if attainable; as well as, dissemination of Arab and Islamic cultural heritage, providing it to the largest number of beneficiaries using the latest technology available. Three Books and CDs under the title "The Contributions of The Arab and Islamic Civilizations to Astronomy, Chemistry and Medical Sciences in Arabic, English and French.

Program Objectives

1. General Objectives: • Preserving the Arabic and Islamic Scientific Heritage; represented in the wealth of knowledge recorded in the Scientific Manuscripts available in Egypt, and elsewhere (if possible). • Presenting the Arabic and Islamic Heritage, and making it available to the greatest number of those seeking its benefits; using the most up to date available technologies. 2. Detailed Objectives: • Gathering the necessary detailed information that may be needed by the scholar, as related to each manuscript in a specific subject (e.g. Medicine, Astronomy, Chemistry, etc); through non-invasive means. • Simplifying the matter of access to the contents of the manuscripts; by providing full photographs of some selected manuscripts. • Creating a system for storing/retrieving photographs of selected manuscripts, throughout the preceding stages of the Project; as well as the photographs of those manuscripts of the ensuing stages. • Ensuring that the created storing/retrieving system will be a “Web-enabled System”; so that it will serve in the future as the core for a Scientific Manuscripts Portal. • Making the distribution of manuscripts information available in the form of easy to handle products; e.g. CDs.

Participants and Partners

There is a well established partnership already existing between CULTNAT and UNESCO. UNESCO, therefore, is considered the principal partner in the Programme for the documentation of the Islamic manuscript Heritage. There are also other institutions participating in the specific individual Projects within the Programme; such as the National Library of Egypt in the First Project, and the Azhar University Library in the Second Project.


The Programme for the documentation of the Islamic manuscripts Heritage aims at documenting the Manuscripts of the Arabic and Islamic Cultures in the fields of Science; whether they were written in Arabic or in Turkish or in Persian. The Programme covers collections kept in the major and leading libraries, such as the National Library of Egypt and the Azhar University Library; with the possibility of selecting some of the most outstanding and exceptional collections.