On September 3, 2012, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj paid a very special, unplanned and non protocol visit to Istanbul, by landing his plane for the sole intention of going to see the Jami al-Tawarikh, a unique and invaluable handwritten text that details the Mongolian ancestry as well as the history of the nation's founding.
President Elbegdorj was shown the original copy of the Jami al-Tawarikh by Topkapı Palace Museum President Haluk Dursun. Elbegdorj was also shown a digital CD detailing the artifact. After stopping in Istanbul for the sole purpose of seeing the Jami al-Tawarikh, which was written by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani at the start of the 14th century and is widely considered to be the first written world history, President Elbegdorj boarded his plane and flew back to Mongolia.
"HE WAS VERY EXCITED"
Topkapı Palace and Museum President Dr. Haluk Dursun shared the interesting experience while also pointing out that the Topkapı Library is full of magnificent literary works and is a leading venue throughout the globe when it comes to housing these types of historical pieces.
"One day, I received a short message from Mongolian diplomats informing me that President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj was on an official trip, however upon his return, planned to stop in Istanbul and to head directly from the airport to the Topkapı Palace for a very special visit. The reason for the visit was the rare copy of the Jami al-Tawarikh, which details the history of Mongolia and is housed in the Topkapı Palace Treasury.
The other day, I received a thank you letter from the Mongolian Embassy as well as the request that a technical copy printed on paper be made of the text.
As for that day, we made our preparations for the visit and they arrived soon after. I acted as their personal guide. He was very pleased and excited. Of course it is not possible to actually touch this type of artifact. He was able to look at it through the glass casing. We showed them the state and holiday ceremonies and described the training that would take place in the courtyard of the school. We also offered them Ottoman sherbet," recalled Dursun.
WHAT DOES THE MYSTERIOUS BOOK CONTAIN
The Jami al-Tawarikh, which was written by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani in the beginning of the 14th century, begins with the first book entitled Mujallad-i Awwal which tells the Mongolian epic of creation. Today, there are four miniature copies in the world. Two, which were written in Arabic, are in England while the other two written in Persian and scripted during the years 1314-1317 are housed in the Topkapı Palace.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Savas Ay.