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Bosnia opens library to house ancient manuscripts that narrowly survived its war

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    Bosnian security worker passes by old books on display during opening ceremony of Gazi Husrev-bey library in Sarajevo, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Sarajevo reopens the 477-year old library on Wednesday, that contains the biggest collection of oriental books and manuscripts in Southeast Europe, after it was rebuilt with the financial donation from Qatar. Dodging bullets and bombs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and the city's siege, Sarajevans moved the manuscripts eight times to different locations to save them from destruction. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) (The Associated Press)

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    Bosnian Muslim girls dressed in traditional Bosnian costume during the opening ceremony of the Gazi Husrev-bey library in Sarajevo, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Sarajevo reopens the 477-year old library on Wednesday, that contains the biggest collection of oriental books and manuscripts in Southeast Europe, after it was rebuilt with the financial donation from Qatar. Dodging bullets and bombs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and the city's siege, Sarajevans moved the manuscripts eight times to different locations to save them from destruction. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) (The Associated Press)

  • 5b3bda8c1fb9fd02480f6a7067003e8b.jpg

    Bosnian security worker passes by old books on display during opening ceremony of Gazi Husrev-bey library in Sarajevo, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Sarajevo reopens the 477-year old library on Wednesday, that contains the biggest collection of oriental books and manuscripts in Southeast Europe, after it was rebuilt with the financial donation from Qatar. Dodging bullets and bombs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and the city's siege, Sarajevans moved the manuscripts eight times to different locations to save them from destruction. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) (The Associated Press)

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    Bosnian Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic, left, accompanied with Qatar's state minister Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Ghaith bin Mubarak Al Kuwari, right, during the opening ceremony of the Gazi Husrev-bey library in Sarajevo, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Sarajevo reopens the 477-year old library on Wednesday, that contains the biggest collection of oriental books and manuscripts in Southeast Europe, after it was rebuilt with the financial donation from Qatar. Dodging bullets and bombs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and the city's siege, Sarajevans moved the manuscripts eight times to different locations to save them from destruction. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) (The Associated Press)

During Bosnia's 1992-95 war and the siege of Sarajevo, residents moved a collection of ancient books and manuscripts to eight different locations to save them from destruction.

On Wednesday, thanks to a $9 million donation from Qatar, Bosnia's president and a Qatar minister opened a new library in the heart of the Ottoman-era Old Town section of Sarajevo to house those books and more than 100.000 manuscripts. The oldest is a handwritten Islamic encyclopedia that was written in Arabic in 1105.

The Gazi Husrev-bey Library is located on the site of a famous mosque of the same name that was opened in 1531. The books and manuscripts were kept in 1537-1863, then moved to another building.

The new library stands where the original one did.