The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is one of the most popular attractions in the city, bringing in more than 1.5 million visitors each year. This place of knowledge was built in commemoration of the long-lost Library of Alexandria and is now a cultural center packed with things to see and do. You will find four museums, fifteen permanent exhibitions, four art galleries and a planetarium there, as well as millions of books and manuscripts.
The loss of The Great Library
In the 3rd century BC, Ptolemy I Soter, who was Alexander the Great's successor, ordered a library built to keep his collection of scrolls. Over hundreds of years, hundreds of thousands of scrolls were collected and placed in the library. It is estimated that around half a million could be found there at its highest point. However, over eight centuries, the contents were burned and lost after numerous attacks. In 48 BC, it is said that during Caesar's conquest, much of the library was accidentally burned and many accounts state that after this, it was never the same. Further ruin occurred during attacks by Aurelian and when Emperor Theodosius I declared paganism illegal and ordered the destruction of the building in which the library was held.
Immerse yourself in Egyptian culture
At the Bibliotheca, guests are welcome to browse the shelves of the main library to find books and periodicals in Arabic, English and French. Explore the History of Science Museum to discover how Egyptian scholars from the time of the Pharaohs to the Middle Ages contributed to developments in the field.
Enjoy a trip through time and space thanks to cutting-edge technology in the Planetarium. You can also learn more about Egypt's heritage at the amazing Culturam, the first interactive panoramic display to use nine projectors. Also see works by leading Egyptian artists at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's permanent and temporary art exhibitions.
Timeless and bold architecture
Designed by world-renowned Norwegian architecture studio Snøhetta, the library's disc shape not only evokes the ancient library, but also the revolutions of time and the constant flow of knowledge. Inspired by nature, the colors of the materials were chosen to resemble the Egyptian landscapes. A forest of stylized lotus flowers supports the glass ceiling, as another symbol of the rebirth of the legendary library.