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Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina)

The ancient Library of Alexandria  was one of the largest and most significant libraries in the ancient world.

It flourished under the patonage of Ptolemaic Dynasty, and was part of a cultural center called the “Museum of Alexandria” . It suffered from several occasion of intentional fires and destructions, the last was with the Muslim conquest in 642 CE.

In 1974 modern Egypt created a modern library in commemoration of the ancient library, and in attempt to rekindle some of the brilliance the anceint center was reputed for.

Called officially “Bibliotheca Alexandrina“, the library was designed by a Norwegian team (Snøhetta), and was opened in 2002. It has the capacity of storing 8 million books, and its main reading room is set in 11 cascading levels. As of 2010 it held about 1 million books.

The ceiling of the reading room has a 32 meters high glass-panelled roof, 160 meters in diameter, and tilted towards the sea, like a sundial. Its walls are carved with characters from 120 different human scripts. 

The complex of Bibliotheca Alexandrina also houses a manuscript restoration laboratory, a specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, the blind and visually impaired, for young people,  and for children. It also contains a a conference center,  four art galleries, a planetarium, and four museums: A museum of antiquities,  from Pharonic to Roman Times (including underwater antiquities from the seabed of Alexandria and Abukir); A museum of Manuscripts; A museum of the belongings of Anwar Al Sadat ; and a museum for the history of science. 


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Points of Interest in the Area

Citadel of Qaitbay
Abu Al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque
Kom el-Shoqafa Catacombs


A 360 degrees image inside the library of Alexandria