Under the governance of the North and East Syria Autonomous Administration, Raqqa is one of Syria’s most ancient cities.
Recently Raqqa has often been associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their occupation of the city in 2014. As a result, Raqqa has been thought of as a place of war and pain.
The city was rescued by anti-ISIS Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in 2017. After the liberation, the city began to normalise.
According to Gazete Karınca’s report, the Bor Seyit bookstore, established in 1957, lost its regular customers during the ISIS era.
The Salafis burned thousands of books during the occupation and regulars stopped visiting the store.
Located near the Raqqa Museum, the store highlights the region’s cultural and political history, and almost without exception all intellectuals who come to the city visit the store. The fact that its bookshelves include world literature’s most important volumes is at the heart of its appeal.
A centre for political meetings
Ahmad Al Habur, one of the founders of the bookstore, is also a member of the Arabic Left Movement. He founded the store after being instructed by his party when Raqqa was a district governorship of Derazor.
Al Habur said about the mission of the bookstore: “At the begining, the reason for establishing the store was to distribute the media organ of the Arabic Left Movement, Nur Gazetesi. Nur Gazetesi was read not only by party members, but everyone else as well.
“The newspaper ensured leftist ideas were able to spread in a short time. After a while, several intellectual journals and books began to appear in the store. We played a part in the cultural and political shifts which occurred in Raqqa over the last 60 years. Several political meetings have been held during this store’s long history”.