The Alexandria Library, also known as the "Mother of Libraries," was one of the wonders of the ancient world and a beacon of intellectual light in the ancient city of Alexandria, home to sages, thinkers, and scholars of various disciplines.
This great library was one of the most important libraries in ancient times, with over half a million volumes. It was founded in the 3rd century BCE by Ptolemy I Soter and continued to grow under the Ptolemaic dynasty. Sadly, it was destroyed in a series of fires in the 3rd century CE. However, its legacy inspired many later libraries, including our modern-day systems. Learn more about its history during our Alexandria day tours.
History of Alexandria Library
The modern Alexandria Bibliotheca was inspired by its predecessor, the Great Library of Alexandria, which was part of a larger structure called the Mouseion, built in honour of the Muses. The Library was built during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus after Demetrius of Phalerum suggested the construction of the Mouseion.
Alexandria was known for its Great Library where influential scholars like Zenodotus of Ephesus and Eratosthenes of Cyrene gathered. The Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed multiple times throughout history. It suffered damage during Caesar's Civil War, the Roman Principate, and Diocletian's siege. The exact causes and extent of damage remain unclear.
So, we can assure you that the Library of Alexandria didn't disappear all at once. It started to decline around 145 BC when intellectuals were expelled from Alexandria. However, in 2002, Lotfy Dowidar proposed an idea to bring it back. The Egyptian government asked Unesco for permission to study the idea, and now the Alexandria Library is a modern library and cultural centre.
However, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a modern library that was established on a piece of land chosen by the Alexandria University Committee. It was inaugurated on October 16, 2002, with the support of many prominent Egyptian political figures and UNESCO. The library houses an expansive collection of specialized exhibits such as the Taha Hussein Library for the Visually Impaired.
The importance of the Alexandria Library
The library served as a hub for scholars, thinkers, and creatives, offering free access to knowledge and resources. It was a place of inspiration for breakthroughs in science and technology, and it housed a vast collection of literature and rare books. The library has hosted numerous events relevant to literature, film, and multimedia and has always been a melting pot of different cultures and intellectual minds. Overall, the importance of the Library of Alexandria lies in its role as a center for knowledge and a symbol of intellectual curiosity and advancement.
Museums Inside Alexandria Library
The Antiquities Museum: It is the first archeological museum in the library. It was established in 2001 and showcases a collection of artifacts from Egypt's Pharaonic era to the Roman civilization prior to Islam. The descriptions of the artifacts are available in Arabic, English, and French, making it easy for visitors to understand the exhibits.
The Manuscript Museum: It is a special place where you can see various digital manuscripts and books. Its main goal is to preserve important historical documents and inspire future generations to do the same. The museum has over 6,000 rare books, documents, and maps and is divided into three sections.
The Sadat Museum: It is a collection of personal belongings of Anwar Al-Sadat, the greatest Egyptian President. The museum contains various items, like the president’s military robes, his Nobel Prize medal, a few of his handwritten letters, and pictures of him and his family. The most notable item in the collection is the bloodstained military robe he wore on the day of his assassination.
Take a look at The packages in Egypt
Beyond the Library: Nearby Sightseeing
If you love learning about history and culture, then you must visit the Library of Alexandria. This place will take you back in time and help you understand the significant contributions that Egypt has made to the world's cultural heritage.
Apart from the library, you can also visit nearby places, such as Montaza Gardens. It is a beautiful and peaceful oasis by the Mediterranean Sea, with lush gardens and historic palaces. Another nearby attraction is the Qaitbay Fortress, which is a large defensive structure built on the ruins of the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Exploring its corridors will make you feel like you have travelled back in time to the days of naval battles and military strategies.
When you visit Egypt, you should definitely check out the Alexandria Library. You'll have the chance to discover its mysteries, learn about its history, and be inspired by the ancient library's legacy that continues to influence modern times. Afro Asian Travel can guide you on your journey to explore the wonders of Egypt, including the grandeur of the Library of Alexandria.