Written in 1550, the Dh11 million book contains images of rare birds Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A rare 16th century book valued at Dh11 million, a golden Quran and the first printed record of Abu Dhabi and Dubai were among the showstoppers at the 31st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), which ended on Sunday.

The week-long fair saw participation from an 1,130 international, regional and local publishing houses representing more than 80 countries.

Attendees at the fair, which has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, part of the Departmenat of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, have been able to see the ‘Golden Quran’, a unique 11th century tome consisting of 184 gold-coated pages. It is one of the oldest preserved Quran editions in existence. This holy book was on display at the Adeva bookstall.

Meanwhile a rare 16th century book valued for Dh11 million was presented by French Library Claverell. Written in 1550, the book contains images of rare and valuable bird species.

Fair visitors could also see the first printed record of Abu Dhabi and Dubai at the Antiquariaat Forum stall. On display was the Viaggio dell’Indie Orientali by the Venetian jeweller Gasparo Balbi, detailing his nine-year voyage from Venice to the Far East between 1579 and 1588, during which Balbi visited the Arabian Gulf region.

Book launch

On Sunday it was announced that Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, attended the book launch of ‘Expo 2020 Dubai, Solidarity on the Ground, Hug in the Sky’ by Emirati writer Ali Abu Al Reesh.

Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi (third from left) with author Ali Abu Al Reesh (second from left) and other officials during the book launch Image Credit: Supplied

The launch was held at the pavilion of the UAE Writers’ Union at the fair. The book launch took place during a panel discussion moderated by Sultan Al Amimi, President of the Board of the UAE Writers’. The event was also attended by Mubarak Al Nakhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Youth, and Ali Bin Tamim, President of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre.

The book was published with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Youth, the United Press and the UAE Writers’ Union. It is part of a project aimed at enriching the UAE’s literary output and written content and supporting creators and intellectuals.

The book documents the writer Al Reesh’s visits to various country pavilions at Expo Dubai 2020. The writer kept a written journal of his Expo visits detailing his experiences of unique cultures, knowledge, ideas, customs and traditions.

The book includes a preface by minister Al Kaabi.

During the session, Sultan Al Amimi said that the book is a qualitative addition to the UAE’s literary achievements and will bear testimony to Expo 2020 Dubai in the future.

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The UAE model

Another session at the fair, titled ‘Islam and the West: Past, Present and Future’, heard from Ed Husain, a prominent British writer and a professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC.

Husain said Emirati diplomacy was able to promote moderate Islam and present the UAE as a successful model of a country that represents moderate Islam.

The session was moderated by Dr Bilal Al Arfa Lee, Professor of the Sheikh Zayed Chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut, Member of the Scientific Committee of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre.