Gardens of Al-Andalus exhibition, a showcase of concepts and tools promoting environment care and nature preservation in the Islamic culture, has opened at Qatar National Library on Sunday.
The exhibition is created by the Islamic Culture Foundation of Madrid (Funci) and was brought to Qatar by the Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG) after successfully being exhibited in various countries in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf.
Al-Andalus generally refers to the area of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Muslims from the 8th century to the 15th century, which gave its name to the modern region of Andalusia in southern Spain.
The exhibition is an expression of the peaceful coexistence of different cultures, respect for the environment and historical heritage.
“The exhibition is part of a bigger project called Med-O-Med Cultural Landscapes of the Mediterranean and the Middle East’s network where 23 countries, including Qatar, are involved as members. Our aim is to emphasise that, in Islamic culture, there is an obligation to take care of the environment. With the exhibition, we want to touch on another aspect of Islamic civilisation and talk about Islam in another context,” Islamic Culture Foundation of Madrid Secretary-General Encarna Gutierrez told the local media.
Among items on display are demonstrations of the principle of hydraulic resources of the Andalusian epoch such as an artesian well, a waterwheel powered by an animal and a windmill for grain and an aqueduct.
A large number of agricultural species introduced to the Iberian Peninsula were also shown such as citron, which is the first citrus fruit to reach the region before the 9th century.
“Now, we have to find in this model an inspiration to continue Al-Andalus in the 21st century. As I said, this is a first step of a bigger project. We are also talking with authorities to have an Andalusia garden where we can teach people and show them what it is like,” Gutierrez added.
The exhibition also features a series of 3-metre-tall towers displaying botanic species historical drawings and the ancient botanical sheets that reference Al Andalus’ gardens, orchards and properties.
In conjunction with the expo, the library has uncovered various manuscripts, photographs and rare books related to the topics.
“Gardens and the natural world are an important part of Islam and the gardens of Andalusia represent a unique blend of Arabian and European cultures. This exhibition explores the botanical, architectural, scientific, spiritual and artistic aspects of these gardens to present a holistic view of these important cultural and historical creations,” QNL Executive Director Dr Sohair Wastawy said in a statement.
QNL Special Collection and Exhibitions Coordinator Ada Romero Sanchez added,”This exhibition presents the library’s visitors with an opportunity to learn about the Islamic civilisation’s unique approach to preserving nature. The design and content of the exhibition also allow visitors to learn about the historical interconnections between Spain, Qatar and the wider Muslim world.”
The exhibition will be on display at QNL until September 7.
Source: QATAR TRIBUNE newspaper