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23 April 2014 Minister of Culture at the Opening Cremony Of “ Hajj To Mecca” Exhibition in Paris
Minister of Culture at the Opening Cremony Of “ Hajj To Mecca” Exhibition in Paris

It is the largest exhibition ever held in France on the pilgrimage to Mecca. Hajj, Pilgrimage to the Mecca opened at the Institut du Monde Arabe (Institute of the Arab World) in Paris on April 23, tracing its historical evolution and artists’ impressions of the journey through 230 objects. The items have been curated from public and private collections, including the Louvre, diplomatic archives, university libraries and the British Museum. The exhibition is organised jointly with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Public Library. H.E Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture, thus took part in the opening ceremony of Paris Haj Expo, which was co-organised by the King Abdul Aziz Public Library (KAPL) and Paris-based Arab World Institute under the patronage of French President Francois Hollande. The opening ceremony of the three-month event yesterday was also attended by Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister and KAPL Board Chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Jacques Lang, IMA President, Chief Librarian, Faisal Bin Abdurrahman bin Moamar, Mr. Fahed Al-Abdulkarim and other officials and intellectuals.

Opened on 22nd April, the exhibition has 230 archaeological pieces on display showing the history of Hajj over the different historical periods and will remain open for three months.

H.E Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al-Khalifa, the Culture of Minister, stressed the role of such exhibitions in fostering inter-cultural and religious dialogue and promoting human heritage. Speaking about the exhibition, H.E said that it would give visitors an idea about the history of Haj, the routes followed by pilgrims to reach the holy sites in Makkah in ancient times, the various rituals of Haj and the development witnessed by Makkah during the Saudi era. The exhibition also aims at promoting the King’s interfaith initiative to achieve greater understanding between the followers of Islam and other religious faiths. A piece of Kiswa, thick black cloth with intricate embroidery of Qur'anic verses in gold, that covers the door of the Kaaba will be on display at the second Saudi Haj Exhibition.

Organized by the King Abdulaziz Public Library and the Arab World Institute in Paris, the exhibit seeks to inform and educate people about the importance of Hajj in Islam, its role in Islam and culture and its spread across the world,” said chief librarian Faisal Moamar. The exhibition has 230 archaeological pieces on display showing the history of Hajj over the different historical periods will remain open for three months. A piece of Kiswah, thick black cloth with intricate embroidery emblazoned with verses from the Quran stitched in gold traditionally adorning the door of the Kaaba, will be on display, Makkah Daily reported.
The exhibition will also feature other antiquities, an old frame of the Black Stone, a door of the dais of the Prophet's Mosque and a number of Qur'anic texts which were written on some walls in the Grand Mosque. The official also revealed that a worker from the Ka’aba Kiswa factory in Makkah will show viewers materials used in stitching the Kiswa and will also show a live demonstration of how the cloth is laced and embroidered.The exhibition showcased Kiswahs of Ka'aba, rare manuscripts, paintings from the 17th century showing pilgrims on camels and horses, 53 museum pieces, induction panels and filming materials. The expo will also feature symposiums, workshops and scientific debates.

The organisers inaugurated a website in seven languages to provide full coverage of the event and inform about Islam, in line with the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. According to Jack Lang, France’s former minister for culture and the current president of the Institut du Monde Arabe, the exhibition is an opportunity for visitors to discover some of the many rich facets of Islam in a country where Muslims represent the second largest religious group.

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