Cadets at French Air and Space School visit NSK

Objavljeno 21.7.2023.

On 21 July 2023, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) received a visit from the cadets at the French Air and Space School (École de l’air et de l’espace). As part of the visit’s programme, the Library prepared a special exhibition featuring the treasures it preserves in its special collections.

The Zagreb University Library Affairs Assistant to the NSK Director General Dr Dijana Machala welcomed the 140 visitors, who were given an overview of the Library’s history and its work and activities by a member of the Library’s Information Centre Ana-Marija Tkalčić.

The NSK International Cooperation Officer Jagoda Ille presented the Library’s activities, resources and heritage linking it with France, spotlighting items in the Library’s special collections of particular value for both Croatian and French culture.

Particularly standing out in the Library’s collections when it comes to heritage connecting Croatia and France is an 1806 manuscript atlas, popularly referred to as ‘Napoleon’s atlas’. Preserved in the Library’s Map Collection and marked by exceptional scientific and artistic value as a major work of 19th-century cartography, the invaluable atlas was commissioned by Napoléon Bonaparte himself. It consists of charts and topographical views of Croatia’s Adriatic coastline, precisely whose annexation to Napoleon’s empire prompted the atlas’s creation by French hydrographer, cartographer and engineer Charles-François Beautemps-Beaupré, Ekerlin and Paolo Birasco.

The Head of the NSK Conservation and Restoration Division Stevo Leskarac presented the work of the Library’s conservation-and-restoration specialists on the preservation of Croatia’s and the world’s printed heritage in the Library’s collections, particularly detailing the conservation treatments related to the 2021 inclusion in the NSK Manuscripts and Old Books Collection of the original volumes of Encyclopédie, Ou Dictionnaire Raisonné Des Sciences, Des Arts Et Des Métiers, the 18th-century French encyclopaedia and one of the principal works of the Age of Enlightenment, compiled by Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert.

After seeing the exhibition, which highlighted the treasures in the Library’s collections linking Croatian and French heritage and culture, the visitors continued with the main programme of their stay in Croatia.