Ancient and Modern Library of Alexandria

Ancient and Modern Library of Alexandria

Table of contents

  1. The ancient library of Alexandria
  2. Modern Library of Alexandria
  3. The largest Francophone library in the Middle East
  4. Planetarium Science Center
  5. Alexandria Library Exhibitions
  6. Specialized libraries the Library of Alexandria
  7. Alexandria Library Museums
  8. Academic research centers
  9. Institutions hosted by the Library of Alexandria

Get a guide on the most famous libraries of the ancient world. It is the Modern Library Of Alexandria & obtains more information about the largest Francophone library, planetarium science center & Exhibitions.

The ancient library of Alexandria

  • The ancient Library of Alexandria was one of the most famous libraries of the ancient world, as the Ptolemaic kings allocated a lot of money to make the library the most important beacon of Knowledge at that time, so they collected all the books of scientists, writers and genius thinkers in many disciplines. The library was also known by other names like the Great Library, and the Royal Library of Alexandria.
  • Historians disagreed in determining the real founder of the library, some say that Alexander the Great was the one who established it, others say the Ptolemies were the ones who founded it during the era of “Soter” Ptolemy I, and others say that his son “Philadelphus” Ptolemy II is the actual founder of the library and he made the city of Alexandria a center of Hellenic culture (Hellenic culture means spreading and imposing the Greek culture).
  • The first and largest section of the ancient Library of Alexandria was located in the royal palace, while the second and smaller section was located in the Temple of Serapis.
  • It was reported that the library contained about 490,000 rolls of papyrus (which represented books at the time), including approximately 90,000 rolls of one author, and in other accounts it contained more than half a million papyrus rolls.
  • The Greek philosopher “Demetrius of Valery” was the first librarian of the Library of Alexandria. One of the librarians was the poet Callimachus, who organized and divided the large books in the library into small parts to make reading and understanding them easier, he, also, organized and classified all the works in the library in a comprehensive catalog.
  • In 48 BC, the first and largest section of the library was burned during the fire that broke out by Julius Caesar (when he was besieged by Little Caesar after he discovered his assistance to Queen Cleopatra, with whom he was at war over the throne, so Julius set fire to ships on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, the fire extended to the library until it was burned down with all its contents.
  • The second section of the library, which was located in the Temple of Serapis, was also destroyed in 391 AD by (Theophilus), Pope of Alexandria, when he destroyed the entire temple, considering it a pagan temple.

Modern Library of Alexandria

  • The modern library was built near the ancient one, specifically in Al-Shatby area in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, north Egypt. It was built jointly by Egypt and the United Nations, the opening ceremony was held on October 16, 2002 with the attendance of the then Egyptian president , Muhammad Hosni Mubarak and his wife Suzanne Mubarak, French President Jacques Chirac, and Queen Rania of Jordan.
  • The construction of the library cost about 160 million US dollars. The library covers an area of 80,000 square meters, with a total height of 33 meters above the sea level, while roof height is 12 meters, including 11 floors.
  • The library was designed in a cylindrical building sunk half-way into the ground, facing the sunrise. Unpolished Aswan granite cladding is covering the perimeter wall, and it was designed from the outside in a way that sunlight enters the interior from all sides to save electricity.
  • The library includes millions of books in various fields, a planetarium, a conference center, 17 permanent exhibitions, four museums, four halls for temporary art exhibitions, six specialized libraries, a simulated copy of the internet archive, and an exploration hall to introduce children to science, and 12 academic research centers and an arts center.
  • The library’s mission is to be: a center of excellence in the production and dissemination of knowledge, and a place for interaction between peoples and civilizations.
  • The objectives of the library is to be Egypt’s window on the world and the world’s window on Egypt, a leading institution in the digital age, and a place of learning, understanding, dialogue and tolerance.
  • The library administration consists of several departments, each of which has several branches. These departments are: the office of the library director, the engineering sector, the library sector, the financial and administrative sector, the external relations and media sector, the information and communication technology sector, the cultural communication sector, and the academic research sector.

The largest Francophone library in the Middle East

  • Egypt has the largest Francophone library in the Middle East, the world’s fourth, thanks to the gift of the National Library of France, which was considered the largest cultural deal in the world in 2009 AD.
  • This exceptional gift consisted of 500,000 books in all branches in the French language issued between the years (1996 AD – 2006 AD), which made the library of Alexandria the main library for French books in the Middle East and Africa.

Planetarium Science Center

The center is a non-profit educational institution whose goal is to encourage a love of science and innovation through a variety of activities that approach science in non-traditional ways, through three sections: (the Planetarium, the History of Science Museum, and Exploration Hall).

Alexandria Library Exhibitions

The library made of several permanent exhibitions:

  • Impressions of Alexandria: Mohamed Awad Collection.
  • The World of Shadi Abdel Salam Exhibition.
  • Arabic Calligraphy: Mohamed Ibrahim Collection.
  • History of Printing: Bulaq Press.
  • The Artist’s Book.
  • Arab-Muslim Medieval Instruments of Astronomy and Science (Star Riders).
  • Mohie-Eldin Hussein: A Creative Journey.
  • Abdel Salam Eid Exhibition.
  • Arab Folk Art: Raaya El-Nimr and Abdel-Ghani Abou El-Enein Collection
  • Selected Artworks of Adam Henein.
  • Selected Artworks of Hassan Soliman.
  • Nagy Shaker: The Passion of Experimentation and Discovery
  • Mohamed Hassanein Heikal: A Life Journey.
  • The Artist’s Book.
  • Selections from Caricature Art.
  • Farouk Shehata: A Continuing Experience.

Specialized libraries: the Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria consists of six specialized libraries:

  • The Arts and Multimedia Library.
  • The Children’s Library.
  • The Rare Books and Special Collections Library.
  • The Young People’s Library.
  • Taha Hussein Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
  • The Microforms Library.

Alexandria Library Museums

The Library of Alexandria has four museums:

  • Manuscripts Museum.
  • El Sadat Museum.
  • Antiquities Museum .
  • The History of Science Museum.

Academic research centers

The Library of Alexandria includes 12 academic research centers:

  • Writing and Scripts Center
  • Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Center.
  • Manuscripts Center.
  • Women Studies and Social Transformation Program.
  • Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage: “located in Cairo”.
  • Center for Special Studies and Programs.
  • Center for Strategic Studies.
  • Sustainable Development Studies, Youth Capacity Building, and African Relations Support Program.
  • Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies.
  • International School of Information Science.
  • Center for Islamic Civilization Studies.
  • Center for Coptic Studies.

Institutions hosted by the Library of Alexandria

  • The Academia Bibliotheca Alexandrinae (ABA).
  • The Arab Network for Women in Science and Technology (ANWST).
  • The Anna Lindh Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures.
  • The Arab Regional Office of the Academy of Science for the Developing World (TWAS-ARO).
  • The Secretariat of the Arab National Commissions of UNESCO.
  • Arabic Society for Ethics in Science & Technology (ASEST).
  • The Middle Eastern and North African Network for Environmental Economics (MENANEE).
  • The HCM Medical Research Project.
  • The Regional Office of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
  • The Secretariat Office of the North Africa and Middle East Science Centers Network (NAMES).

The number of these institutions hosted by the Library increases over time.

If you want to visit Library of Alexandria

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