Part of a Russian-made copy of the Koran, etched onto sheets of 99.9% pure gold, is currently on display in Iran’s capital at an exhibition of sacred Islamic texts. Fourteen sheets of the 162-page book were sent to Tehran for the exhibition, which started on 22 September and will run until 2 October.
The book, worth US$5.9 million, is a faithful copy of the Uthman Koran, considered to be the world’s oldest surviving copy of Islam’s holy book.
The golden version even replicates a stain of blood believed to be from the assassination of the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, which is still visible on the original.
The Uthman Koran, also known as Osman’s Koran, was previously held at a mosque in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The eight-century holy book is now the property of the Russian state, and is stored at the Institute of Oriental Studies in St. Petersburg.
The Golden Koran was made by the Moscow Mint over a period of 18 months.
Russia’s embassy in Tehran said earlier that the presentation of the Russian-made exhibit at the 15th Sacred Koran international exhibition would provide an “excellent symbol of cooperation between Russia and the entire Islamic world.”
Although Russia is predominantly Orthodox Christian, the country has a significant Muslim minority.