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Bibliotheca Alexandrina مكتبة الإسكندرية Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in Arabic Language, Culture, History, Language, Vocabulary

     The Library of Alexandria مكتبة الإسكندرية   /Maktabat Al-Iskandariya/ is a major library and  cultural centre مركز located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. It is a commemoration إحياء لذكرى of the Library of Alexandria that was lost ages ago. It also is an attempt to revive something of the elegance and brilliance that this earlier centre of study once represented.


     Efforts of reviving the old library date back to 1974, when a committee set up by Alexandria University selected a plot of land for its new library, between the campus and the seafront, close to where the ancient library once stood. The notion of recreating the ancient library was soon adopted by other individuals and agencies. The former السابق Egyptian president; Hosny Mubarak was one. UNESCO اليونسكو , also was quick to embrace the idea of endowing the Mediterranean region with a centre of cultural ثقافي  and scientific علمي  excellence. So, an architectural design تصميم competition, organized by UNESCO to choose the best design, was won by the Norwegian Snohetta architectural office, from among more than 1400 entries. The first pledges for funding the project مشروع were made at a conference held inAswan in 1990. The construction work began in 1995 and the building was officially  inaugurated on October 16, 2002.

      The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a trilingual institution, containing books in Arabic, English and French. In 2010, the library received a generous donation تبرُّع of 500.000 books from the National Library of France. That gift makes the Bibliotheca Alexandrina the sixth largest Francophone library in the world and largest depository of French books in the Arab world and Africa.

       The dimensions of the project are vast. The library has shelf space for eight million books with the main reading room حجرة covering 70.000 square meters on eleven cascading levels. The complex also, houses a conference centre, specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, the blind and visually impaired, young people and for children أطفال ; four museums, four art galleries for temporary exhibitions; 15 permanent exhibitions; a planetarium and a manuscript restoration laboratory معمل . The library’s architecture is equally striking. The main reading room stands beneath a 32-meter-high glass-panelled roof, tilted out towards the sea like a sundial and measuring some160 meters in diameter. The walls are of grayAswan granite, carved with characters from 120 different human scripts.

        The collections of the  Bibliotheca Alexandrina were donated from all over the world. The Spanish donated documents وثائق that detailed their period of Moorish rule. The French also donated giving the library documents dealing with the building of theSuez Canal.  Bibliotheca Alexandrina maintains the only copy and external backup of the Internet Archive.

* Adapted and translated from wikipedia

* Official site of the library: http://www.bibalex.org/home/default_en.aspx


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About the Author:Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.

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