Library of Alexandria
In an attempt to recreate some of the grandeur that the original Library of Alexandria held, the modern day Bibliotheca Alexandrina was built, as close as possible, to the original site of its predecessor. Intended to be a library and major cultural centre it was inaugurated in 2002 by former president Hosni Mubarak.
Designed to look like the sun emerging from the sea, the library covers six floors, with four underground stores. It is surrounded by a huge wall, made from Aswan granite, and contains inscriptions in 120 different languages.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is the world’s first digital library with facilities to hold up to eight million books; six specialized libraries; research centres; two galleries; six large halls; an internet archive; an audio and visual library; special libraries for the blind, for children, teenagers, microfilm, and rare books; and a conference centre. It is certainly an excellent replacement for its long lost predecessor.
The library also houses a museum, which could make it the only library in the world to do so. This museum houses a history of writing, pharaonic antiquities, Greco-Roman antiquities, Coptic and Christian antiquities, Islamic antiquities, antiquities recovered from the library’s excavations, a history of mummification, and antiquities recovered from the ongoing underwater archaeological exploration in Alexandria’s eastern port.