History and culture of Haj journey to be explored

Abu Dhabi: The Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre (SZGMC) has launched an engaging and interactive series of public talks and discussions which will explore the historic collections and unique artefacts on display at the Haj: Memories of a Journey exhibition.

The programme, being held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, will be hosted at Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, and will start on January 24.


The extensive programmes feature a series of events which will allow audiences to delve deeper into the narrative of Haj and the development of the Islamic arts over the years, fostering and encouraging public awareness of the cultural values that flourished during the various stages of Islamic civilisation.

The programme has been designed to further enhance the cultural discourse shaped by the themes and objectives of the exhibition. It also stems from SZGMC’s vision and mission to encourage public dialogue about the noble values that emanate from the spirit and essence of Islam, strengthening Islamic discourse among visitors from around the world.

The inaugural session, titled Historical Haj Routes, will be hosted by Dr Andrew Petersen, director of research in Islamic Archaeology at the University of Wales, UK, and will highlight the major Haj routes that pilgrims embarked on over the years. Historically, the journey lasted months as pilgrims travelled in caravans on foot from their home cities to Makkah.

The second talk in the series, titled Every Object Tells a Story, will be held on February 24, and will help audiences explore the stories of the stunning objects that lie at the heart of the Haj: Memories of a Journey exhibition, shedding light on the importance of objects in telling about Islamic history and the centrality of Haj for Muslims around the world.

The series will conclude with the Manuscripts, Illumination Art & Calligraphy talk talking place on March 19, with an extensive discussion hosted by Venetia Porter, Islamic and Contemporary Middle East Art curator from the British Museum. This talk will delve into the historical significance of Arabic calligraphy in Islamic manuscripts, allowing audiences to take a closer look at some of the unique objects displayed at the exhibition, as well as exploring the significant role of artists across the Islamic world who use calligraphy to transform writings into unique pieces of art.

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