This post is also available in: العربية
By Shawqi Bin Hassan
If finding a 200-year-old book is big news, what about discovering an entire lost library! That’s what exactly happened when a Belgian bibliotheca lost for two centuries was uncovered in the city of Bouillon.
The European media has been gripped by the discovery, which was revealed by Henri Godts, a real estate agent and antiquities expert from ‘Hotel du Bigfoot Horla’, an antiques showroom in Brussels.
Godts told Belgian ‘La Vie’ newspaper that the original owner of the library was a French intellectual who allegedly fled the French Revolution in 1789 by taking refuge in Bouillon. The undisturbed library was a perfectly preserved snapshot of an era long forgotten by many.
“It is extremely rare to find such an authentic library, it is as if I had been catapulted into the future in a time machine. The books are all perfectly preserved and look as though they could have come straight off the printing press.” Godts said.
Godts was informed about the existence of a small library by a grandson of the original owner, who along with his family members visited the showroom where Godts works and told him that he wanted to auction the furniture of the old family property.
Godts was surprised to find the old library along with the original furniture and fittings from the time. The library contains 180 extremely rare books dating back to the 18th century. It is claimed that many are unique.
The vast majority document and describe exotic countries, far away regions and different civilisations, but perhaps most interestingly of all, in among these literary gems, was an old atlas by Belgian geographer Antwerp Abraham Ortelius. During his lifetime, Ortelius was considered the greatest cartographer of the 16th century.