Egypt’s revived Bibliotheca Alexandrina – A Luxury Travel Blog : A Luxury Travel Blog
As you may or may not know, the Library of Alexandria is a major library in Egypt and a cultural center located by the Mediterranean Sea. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was built in 2002 and is a revival of the old Library of Alexandria. Construction on the new library began in 1995 and after 7 years and $ 220 million in spending, the library was officially reopened.
Dedicated to being the center of excellence, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina aims to be the world’s window on Egypt and vice versa, a leading institution in the digital age and a center of learning. Make sure to visit this wonderful library every time you visit Egypt, as it not only functions as a library, but also as a place for dialogue, learning and understanding of different cultures and peoples.
The walls of the building are made of Aswan gray granite and are carved with figures from 120 human scripts. The main reading room is built under a 32 meter high glass roof sloping towards the sea. The vast space and cascading levels make the library architecture striking and unique. The trip to this library is an adventure in itself as it contains so many different libraries and rooms for different purposes, containing much of the ancient history of Egypt.
Visit the Library of Alexandria
The idea was to revive the old library after selecting land between the Alexandria University campus and the waterfront for the new library. The Old Library of Alexandria was established during the reign of Ptolemy II of Philadelphia and was one of the largest libraries in the ancient world. Due to the old library, Alexandria has become the capital of knowledge and learning. The very initial idea of a universal library was proposed by Demetrius of Phalerum to Ptolemy I Soter. Part of the collection of the old library was accidentally burned by Julius Caesar during the Civil War in 48 BC, but it is not known whether it survived the fire or was rebuilt by the after. On the other hand, the architectural design of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was organized by UNESCO to choose one worthy of the site and its heritage.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina hosts many book fairs, launches, ceremonies, competitions, conferences and even concerts, among many different events held in different spaces and rooms of the library depending on its purpose. Providing universal access to human knowledge, the library aims to preserve heritage for future generations. Many of the book collections available today in the library have been donated from around the world, such as a donation of 500,000 books received from the National Library of France in 2010 making the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on 6e the largest French-speaking library in the world.
The Library of Alexandria has enough space for 8 million books with a reading room of 20,000 square meters. You can also find a conference center, specialized libraries for multimedia, the blind and visually impaired, maps, for children and more spaces for different purposes like four museums, four art galleries and a laboratory of restoration of manuscripts, among others. The library extends up to 160 meters in diameter and reaches up to 32 meters in height. The sculptures made on the Bibliotheca Alexandrina were made in collaboration with artists Jorunn Sannes and Kristian Blystad. The roof of the library is lit by vertical north-facing skylights so as not to expose direct sunlight into the room, which is harmful to books and manuscripts. The entire library is filled with up-to-date digital information facilities and is also slated to accommodate a wide range of changing technologies. The aim is to digitally archive the past through the library’s websites, making any historical documents, books or any piece of knowledge easily accessible and available.
Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and has many amazing and different attractions to discover including the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, so make sure you don’t miss out on discovering its beauty. Visit the Library of Alexandria and choose your guided tour in 3 different languages; Arabic, French and English. Grab a book or visit one of the permanent exhibitions and spend some time exploring the area as the whole library is a masterpiece you won’t regret visiting.
Sherif Khalil is the owner of Dunes & Beyond. Dunes & Beyond offers luxury tours, Nile cruises and desert safaris in Egypt.
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