This city has historically been a site of learning, a site where cultures met, and this attracted poets and writers for thousands years.
In 2002 a new library was built in order to recapture the spirit of learning and openness of the ancent Biblioteca Alexandrina.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina or Library of Alexandria is a huge complex situated on the Mediterranean Sea. It was inaugurated on October 16th, 2002.
In 1974 a plot of land was chosen by the Alexandria University as the site of a new library. The location was between the coast and the university campus - close to where the ancient library once stood. Many individuals and agencies became enthusiastic about the project; including UNESCO who organised an architectural design competition in 1988. It was won by a Norwegian, Snøhetta, from more than 1,400 entries. Construction began in 1995.
The library is trilingual, containing books in Arabic, English and French. It also holds the only copy and backup of the Internet Archive.
The complex consists of the main library (including specialised sections for visually impaired, youth and children) a conference center; four museums and art galleries for temporary exhibitions; 15 permanent exhibitions; a planetarium; and a manuscript restoration laboratory.
The architecture is spectacular. The roof of the main reading room looks like a huge disc which tilts out towards the sea; the high wall is made from gray Aswan granite and is inscribed with letters from 120 different scripts.
I’ve separated the exterior and the interior of Biblioteca Alexandrina, because the two really have different draws. The largest part of the structure is occupied by a beautiful library that slopes along with the roof. Most of the books are modern ones, but there are some rare books and antique ones as well. All of the regular collection is open to visitors, whether Egyptians or not. The bottom floor of the library, however, has a number of museums, some of which are free and others of which have an entrance fee. We went into one that was the history of Alexandria, with a number of photo exhibits. The museum that showcases the history of the library and rare books requires payment of an entrance fee, while the Sadat museum (dedicated to the Egyptian President assassinated in 1981) is free to all. There are also exhibitions on Egyptian modern art and on the various arts and crafts of the Arab world.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina is not the original Greek library – that one is at the bottom of the Mediterranean. Rather, it is a modern version of the library that seeks to fulfill the same mission of educating the people of this ancient city. The current building, constructed between 1995 and 2002 and designed by Snøhetta, is an impressive structure that is engraved with words in the various languages of the world, modern and ancient. The huge, sloping roof is memorable when seen from the outside, but the effect of the design is even more impressive when seen from the inside. The exterior of the building includes a large courtyard and some shops and cafés, as this is a popular spot for students. There are also various replicas of ancient Egyptian statues, which creates an interesting dichotomy between the modern and the ancient.
The old library is completely gone, it was gone a long time ago. But they chose the old site to build the library. In excavating the old site they found a bust of Alexander that is new the entrance of the New library. It was my husband's choice to visit the new library but I was so glad we did. There are ancient and modern art museums in the library for no extra cost. They a machine that can print any book in their archive for pennies on the page. There is a rare book collection, this is for extra cost. Make sure you have a few dollars in local currency, it only accepts local cash for tickets.
The Library of Alexandria is located directly facing the Mediterranean Sea. It consists of 11 floors, with a total area of 280,200 square feet! Within it's wall is a chlidren's library, a library for the blind. a convention center, a planetarium, and four museums; one of them filled with artifacts found in Alexandria from the Graeco-Roman period.
The library contains as many as 7.5 million books, 4,000 periodicals, 50,000 manuscripts, rare books, and maps.
The decor inside is incredible, highly polished wooden floors, with walls, stairs and countertops made Aswan Granite. Computers and desks with students, staff and visitors, all in deep concentration and awe of all this library has to offer.
For English-speaking visitors, there is a free guided tour that lasts for an hour. The information desk also offers guided tours in other languages too.
At the main entrance there is a Bookstore/Gift Shop, with books on Egyptian history and guide books in English, French, Italian, German, Polish, and Spanish. They also sell CD's of Nubian and Egyptian Music.
If you have a little extra time in your schedule, of if you are planning a visit to Alexandria, stop by and see this modern miracle.
Price for foreign visitors: 10 L.E. (1.75 USD)
I'd say that this is Alex's 'must-see' tourist attraction, because it is unique. O.K, the catacombs are amusing but not much more than an atmospheric curiosity.
The new library is a stunning piece of modern architecture, a vast steel and glass disc sloping into a pool of water, wrapped round by a wall on which are inscribed examples of all the known alphabets of the world.
In addition to being a working library the building houses a museum of antiquities and a museum of manuscripts, which is worth visiting for its excellent exhibition of the history of Alex and also has on display a part of the embroidered cover of the Kaaba in Makka, which was presented by the family of Talaat Harb, to whom it had been given.
Inaugurated in 2002, the opening of the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina became a special event in the city as it was attended by dignitaries from around the world. It is located a the east side of Corniche also the former site of the old library. It is more than a library...so they say. It has museums, a planetarium, research centres, art galleries, conference centres, and becomes hosts of a number of institutions.
The Bibliotheca is open everyday but closed on Tuesdays. The schedule on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday is 11AM to 7PM. Friday and Saturday it opens at 3PM. Entrance Fee is 10 Egyptian Pounds for Non-Egyptian visitors.
This is a wonderful library full of artifacts and has nice architecture and lay out. I didn't have much time to peruse the books, but it is worth making the extra effort. The town itself is a nice town with good seafood and firendly people. It has a European atmosphere, most likely stemming from it's Greek influence.
Soon after Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. worlds largest library was established which finally had more than a million of papyri and was by far the most important storage of literature and documents in the ancient world.
About 1700 years after this old library vanished a great new library was built not far from the place of the original one to remind of the glorious past. This new library is intended to host finally 5 millions of books and I do not remember how many Terabytes of data. The library provides also many hundreds of up to date multimedial working places for the users and all other facilities you can expect today in a perfect leading modern library. But I was shocked, there were only extremely few users.
The Royal Library of Alexandria was once the largest library in the world. Nobody can say for certain when it was founded, but what’s sure is that it was destroyed by fire during Caesar’s invasion and the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the old Library.
The Alexandria Library has now risen from the ashes of antiquity so that it might once more lead the world as a cultural center and a focal point for knowledge not only in Egypt, bur for the world as a whole. The revival of the Alexandria Library is a huge international project which cost millions of dollars. The library contains more than 8 million books and a reading area with two thousand seats. This library possess about 400000 volumes in hard and electronic copies. It is designed to hold 4 million volumes. In the future its capacity will reach 8 million using the compressed storage system.
The design concept is a simple circle inclined towards the sea, partly submerged in a pool of water, the image of the Egyptian sun, which in contemporary terms will illuminate the world and human civilization.
Moreover, an inclined roof allows indirect daylight and a clear view of the sea. Designed as an arrow, an elevated passageway links the University of Alexandria to the Corniche, the building is surrounded by a wall clad with Aswan granite engraved with calligraphic letters and representative inscriptions from the world civilizations.
The museum is housed in section B1 of the Library complex on the ground floor of the main building. After passing through the security gate of the Library, take the stairs that lead down to the ground floor. On the right side of the stairs is the ticket office. General admission costs 10 LE ($2) for foreign tourists.
You may watch my high resolution photos on Google Earth in Alexandria Library according to the following coordinates: 31º 12' 31.42" N 29º 54' 27.35" E
or on my Google Earth Panoramio Photo 1 , Photo 2 .
Here, I find myself willing to beg your attention for a few seconds! .... May I?
As you are quite aware nations use the names or sounds of the first letters of their alphabet to name it. e.g. Greeks used [ Alpha+Beta : ALPHABET]. The Arabs used the names [Aleph+Ba : ALEPHBA], or the sounds of the first four letters [ Aleph + Ba + Gim + Dal : ABGaDyeah].
But How Greeks got such characters and relevant sounds?
Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiforms were the only known forms of writing in ancient times. Both scripts, though separately created, used picture writing. Eventually, pictures or signs represented sounds. By about 1200 B.C., the Phoenicians had developed symbols which in time became a real alphabet from which the Greeks derived theirs. The characters represent in all probability an early forking from the Sinaitic, which constitutes the connecting link between the Phoenician alphabet and its Egyptian ancestor.
The Egyptian symbol for the ox head was given the Semitic name Aleph and was sounded as "A", to get it: Flip ‘A’ vertically ! Imagine an ox head with its two horns! The symbol for house became Bet and was sounded as "B". The symbol for Camel’s head and neck became Gamal and was called Gamma and sounded as “G” ….
…and so on:
for door Dalet and sounded D,
for water Mem, Myah and sounded M to get it imagine the water waves*,
for teeth Sin and sounded S, compare Greek Sigma and the teeth*.
The new library of Alexandria is something to see. There is a wall infront of the library where is carved pictograms, hieroglyphs, letters from every known alphabet.
There is also a museum inside the library and much more.
The entrance fee in 2005 was 10 L.E. (Egyptian pound)
After having spent two weeks looking and learning about things that were 1000's of years old, it was very refreshing to visit a modern place as beautiful as the Alexandria Library. A guide talked to us about everything from the architect and building materials, to the students and books. There was also an exhibition in one of the library rooms that showed a collection of drawings and artwork by the Egyptian film director Shadi Abdel Salam which made my day. Don't miss this place as it really shows another side to Egypt than just it's glorious past.