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Library of Alexandria

Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria, an ancient library, has been famous throughout history under several names, including the Great Library and the Royal Library of Alexandria.

Although in later times, its importance decreased, and its collections were lost due to changes in power and successive invasions.

The Library of Alexandria, at one time in the past, was the largest in the world. In its time of most extraordinary splendor, it housed more than 900,000 manuscripts.

When and by whom was the Library of Alexandria founded?

It was founded at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. C. by Ptolemy I Soter and enlarged by his son Ptolemy II.

Explore Alexandria by Easy Tours Egypt

Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria, the most famous library of Classical antiquity.

Where is the Library of Alexandria located?

The Library of Alexandria is located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria, Egypt.

The library and cultural center opened in 2002 as part of a larger project to commemorate the city of Alexandria’s legacy as an ancient center of world learning and culture.

What was inside the Library of Alexandria?

The library contains an extensive collection of books estimated at 2 million and 153 thousand books in various languages of the world

The library has 7 specialized libraries:

  • the Library of the Blind
  • the Library of Audio-Visual Materials
  • the Children’s Library
  • the Young People’s Library
  • the Rare Books and Special Collections Library
  • the Maps Library.

Library out 4 museums:

  • Archaeological Museum
  • Manuscript Museum
  • Sadat Museum
  • Science History Museum

The library is affiliated with the Planetarium Center, in a distinctive circular shape for the engineering building of the library.

It aims to spread scientific culture, and exhibitions and workshops are held there. It also contains a museum for the history of natural sciences.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina has seventeen permanent exhibitions:

  • Alexandria Through the Ages: Mohamed Awad Collection
  • The world of Shadi Abdel Salam
  • Arabic calligraphy: Mohamed Ibrahim Group
  • Astronomical and scientific instruments among the Arabs in the Middle Ages (Knights of the Sky)
  • Printing History: Bulaq Press
  • Artist Mohamed Shaker Museum
  • Artist book
  • Muhyiddin Hussein: A Creative Journey
  • Caring for the Tiger and Abd al-Ghani Abul-Enein Group (Arab Folk Art)
  • Seif and Adham Wanli: Movement and Art
  • Selections from the works of Adam Hanin
  • Selections from the works of Ahmed Abdel Wahhab
  • Selections from the works of Hassan Suleiman
  • Farouk Shehata: An extended experience
  • Anthology of cartoon art
  • Muhammad Hassanein Heikal.. A Life Journey
  • Nagy Shaker… Passion for experiment and discovery

According to the latest modern architectural styles, the library has a conference center built in a distinctive architectural style.

The library contains 12 specialized research centers, namely

  • Alexandria Studies Center and Mediterranean Civilization
  • Calligraphy Center
  • Center for Special Studies and Programs
  • International Institute for Informatics Studies
  • Manuscript Center
  • Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (based in Cairo)
  • Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies
  • Program for sustainable development studies, capacity building of youth, and support for African relations
  • Center for Islamic Civilization Studies
  • Coptic Studies Center
  • Center for Strategic Studies
  • Women’s Studies and Social Transformation Program

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina also hosts several institutions:

  • Alexandria Library Academy (ABA)
  • Arab Group for Ethics in Science and Technology (ASEST)
  • The Anna Lindh Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures is the first Euro-Mediterranean foundation to be based outside of Europe
  • Obstructive hypertrophic heart disease research project, located in the Shallalat area
  • The Arab Regional Office of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS-ARO)
  • Regional Office of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  • Secretariat of Arab delegations to UNESCO
  • Middle East and North Africa Network for Environmental Economics (MENANEE)
  • Arab Network for Women in Science and Technology (ANWST)
  • Secretariat Office of the Association of North African and Middle East Scientific Centers (NAMES)
  • Such institutions continue to grow, making the Bibliotheca Alexandrina the center of many international and regional networks.

Who destroyed the library of Alexandria and why?

Regarding the destruction of the library of Alexandria, it is not known when precisely the Great Library and the Mouseion (Temple of the Muses) were destroyed.

Still, the date is around the beginning of the Roman Era in Egypt ( 48 BC). Furthermore, no one knows how much ancient knowledge was lost in the fire that destroyed the library.

Other theories claim that the library would have been burned down in 640 AD following the order of Caliph Omar after the capture of Alexander.

In 1987 an international project began to seek to rescue the cultural significance of the site and the symbol that represents the mythical library in humanity’s collective imagination.

UNESCO coordinated the project, and finally, under the name of Biblioteca Alexandrina, it was inaugurated in 1996.

Library of Alexandria
The Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt was the most important knowledge repository in the ancient world.

The History of the library of Alexandria

The Great Library of Alexandria was founded in the 3rd century BC, shortly after the founding of the city by Alexander the Great.

It is considered one of the most outstanding achievements in the legacy of ancient Alexandria and is credited with preserving most of the knowledge of the ancient world.

The Library of Alexandria was one of the largest libraries in the ancient world. The institution of the ancient library of Alexandria had as its primary objective to preserve and disseminate the national culture.

It contained books that were taken from Athens. Mathematicians were also linked to the library, such as Euclid of Alexandria. The library became a significant center for papyrus trade and manufacture.

In the past, there were two great Libraries in Alexandria. The Mother and Daughter Library. At first, the Daughter was used only as a complement to the first,

But the Daughter gained new importance with the accidental fire (by Julius Caesar), in the 1st century, of the Mother Library.

The Library of Alexandria was undoubtedly one of the most important libraries in the world and, of course, one of the most significant sources of knowledge creation in antiquity.

The library was built during the 3rd century BC in the city of Alexandria, at the time of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, and served as part of a research institution known as the Mouseion.
Demétrio de Faleros was responsible for bringing up the idea of ​​creating the building, but the library’s construction only came to be done during the reign of Ptolemy II.

At the time, it is estimated that the library had between thirty thousand and seven hundred thousand academic, religious, and literary volumes in its collection.

Due to the size of its collection, a branch was created at the Serapeum of Alexandria.

About the author

Magdy Fattouh (Migo) is a creative content marketer and expert in search engines for over 5 years. He manifests his passion in his role as a Creative Content Writer especially in travel where he strives to evoke a strong sense of place in his write-ups.