Situated on the coast of the Mediterranean, at the village of El-Heri, in Ras Al Shaqa’, in the North of Lebanon, stands the Nabu Museum. Named after the Mesopotamian patron god of literacy, the museum offers an exceptional permanent collection of Bronze and Iron Age artifacts representing Roman, Greek, Byzantine, Phoenician, Mesopotamian, and contemporary Lebanese cultures, in addition to rare manuscripts and ethnographic material. The museum’s collections also include examples of local, regional, modern and contemporary art by Lebanese artists such as Shafic Abboud, Amin al-Bacha, Helen Khal, Dia Azzawi, Shakir al-Said, Omar Onsi, Mustapha Farroukh, Ismail Fattah, Adam Henein, Khalil Gibran, Paul Guiragossian and Mahmoud Obaidi, along with a unique collection of works by Saliba Douaihy. Notable in Nabu Museum’s collections is a unique selection of cuneiform tablets dating from 2330 to 540 B.C.E., that includes literary works and extensive social and economic records, that, together, provide detailed and often new information on the history and culture of the Sumerians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia.
The Nabu Museum building was designed in collaboration with Iraqi-Canadian artist Mahmoud Obaidi and Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi. The enveloping façade of the museum was fashioned with weathering-steel representing a monumental scripted relief based on a visual lexicon developed over their respective long careers in painting, drawing, sculpture, and print. The interior space of the museum is boldly conceived by Obaidi as a simple cube with a capacious open interior, easily adaptable for changing exhibitions. The museum also houses a library with an extensive collection of books on art, archaeology, history, and geography, along with a collection of rare manuscripts.