The Ancient Library of Alexandria served as an important place for research over science, philosophy, and arts. As an expression of equality, even in those early years of human history, its doors remained open for every person who sought knowledge without any discrimination due to color, origin or religion.
The Library had a mission to collect a copy of every single book ever written and at the time it was burned, it had achieved the most complete collection of ancient literature ever assembled.
In an effort to revive the greatness of the Old Library, a big project of bringing in life the New Bibliotheca Alexandrina came into force. An international architectural competition was launched and the winning design was selected due to its unique concept, technically outstanding outlook and innovative approach.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina was officially inaugurated in 2002 and has been characterized as one of the Seven World Wonders of modern architecture.
The shape of the New Bibliotheca is that of an incomplete sun. In a symbolic way, everyday Alexandrina -likewise the sun- rises and spreads knowledge all over the world!
Its exterior wall brings a universal message through the carving of letters and characters of all world alphabets! Moreover, the design of the adjacent Planetarium (in the shape of a sphere suspended in the air) suggests a planet (namely the Moon) that is moving around the sun! At night, blue stripes light up the spherical Planetarium, creating a landscape from outer space.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina is not just a library. It is a vast complex housing conference facilities, research centers, and museums where permanent galleries, temporary exhibitions and a repository of rare manuscripts can be found.
The library itself provides a main reading / working space that can accommodate up to 2,000 readers, divided into eight different terraces. Each terrace is dedicated to a different subject area, gradually leveling from philosophy, history, religion and geography to the latest technologies.
Looking up at the ceiling, you will immediately see that the windows have been cut in the shape of human eyes! The ceiling has also been decorated using blue and green glass in order to create a more relaxing ambiance for the readers.
A visit to Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a must for everyone visiting Alexandria! Don’t miss the free guided tour, which gave me all this info I am sharing with you now J and even more!
For example, did you know that nearly all the books found in Bibliotheca Alexandrina have been digitalized and you can read them online at the comfort of your own home? YES, all digital books can be accessed for free, apart from those that come with copyright. For the copyrighted books, you will be granted free access for only 5% of their content.
You can get the most updated info about Opening Hours, Ticket Prices, and Reservation process for (some of) the Guided Tours through the following link: https://bibalex.org/en/Page/BA_Visiting