Ottoman memories coming to light in Romania thanks to TİKA

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) opens the archive in the National Library of Romania to worldwide access, which also includes works from the Ottoman era.

TİKA supported the preservation of collective memory by installing professional scanning and digital storage systems in the National Library of Romania, an institution responsible for preserving and managing Romania’s national cultural heritage. The project aims to digitalize and preserve all the documents, which also include valuable documents and works from the Ottoman era, as well as putting them at the disposal of researchers in the libraries of Europe and the world.

The ceremony for the installment of the digital storage system was attended by Romanian Ministry of Culture Undersecretary Viviana Anghel, Director of the National Library of Romania Maria M. Răducu, Turkish Ambassador to Bucharest Koray Ertaş, Head of TİKA’s Department of the Balkans and Eastern Europe (BADA) Dr. Mahmut Çevik, TİKA Bucharest Coordinator Yasemin Melez Biçer, academicians, and NGO representatives.

During her speech at the inauguration ceremony, Director of the National Library Răducu stated that TİKA’s support both preserves the archived documents of cultural heritage that were in danger of wearing out and destruction, and contributes into the universality of information by opening these valuable works to the access of researchers from all over the world.

Thanks to these newly-obtained professional systems, the documents in the National Library of Romania will be at the disposal of researchers around the world, whereas handwritten manuscripts will be protected from any kind of harm and wearing out while reading.

The most valuable documents of the National Library of Romania are preserved by the Department of Special Collections

Thanks to the infrastructural support by TİKA, the digitalization process of the Department of Special Collections at the National Library of Romania has begun, which includes a total of 65,000 works, namely handwritten manuscripts as well as rare and precious works, archived documents, maps, graphics, engravings, photographs and periodicals.

As part of the project, the primary aim is to preserve the documents that function as the collective memory of our historical heritage and to shed a light on history by putting them at the disposal of researchers, which will be carried out by scanning documents such as the archived files of the Ottoman era, 47 large-scale maps, the newspapers that were printed during World War I, and periodicals from the years 1832-1950.

During his speech at the ceremony, Head of TİKA’s BADA Çevik said “TİKA’s ‘Balkans and Eastern European States Ottoman Era Documents and Manuscripts Program’ is successfully going on in the region. In this context, we are contributing into passing down the collective memory of our countries to future generations with modern equipment and hardware that were obtained for the National Library of Romania.”

Turkish Ambassador to Bucharest Koray Ertaş expressed his gratitude for the projects that result from the collaboration between TİKA and the Romanian institutions and said “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in this project, which provided the opportunity to digitally preserve precious archived documents and to open them to the access of researchers and interested parties around the world.”

TİKA’s program in the Balkans for the preservation of the memories of our ancestors had already helped the recovery of more than 100,000 digital images in Macedonia. Also, a project had begun in Albania to recover 650,000 digital images.

TİKA’s program currently continues in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia and Hungary.