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Zurich library opens page on priceless treasures

Sixteenth century Europeans made do with leaflets to explain the wonders of comets.

(Zurich central library)

The general public is being given the chance to view rare artefacts normally kept under lock and key at the central library in Zurich. The collection includes 60 objects dating back as far as the sixth century.

The oldest artefact is a 1,500-year-old ivory writing tablet. Other special items include the largest existing wood carved map of the Holy Land dating from 1560. Among the most valuable is a double-sided parchment from the seventh century displaying a script in gold and silver.

The collection also boasts many unique objects. The single sheet "German almanac for the year 1482" was discovered after unwittingly being used by a former library bookbinder to make a cover.

Visitors can also see a sheet of music written by the 10-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart when he was in Zurich, as well as an 1825 panoramic picture of the city as seen from the Grossmünster church. The panoramic picture was the first ever made of a Swiss city.

The chamber where the collection is kept will be open to the public for one hour once a month until August. Each viewing follows a talk given by the library on a selected object. The next viewings are scheduled for March 5 and April 2.



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