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The Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The new Library of Alexandria is a structure resembling a spaceship. In 2002, it replaced the largest library in the ancient world. Built on a circular plan, it consists of ten floors; four underground and six above-ground. Its shape is specifically built: one wall of the building is 32 meters high, and the roof sloping down from it on the opposite side reaches below sea level, which gives the impression of a disk plunging into the water. The circular shape of the library has a symbolic meaning. According to the architects' assumptions, it means the circle of life - just like the sunrise sun emerges from the sea, reaches its highest point and disappears into the sea again at sunset. Inscriptions in 120 languages are carved on the granite wall of the building and there is enough space inside the library for 8 million books.

This place is not only a Mecca for bibliophiles, the library has four museums and numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions. It is worth visiting the Manuscript Museum, which exhibits, among others, ancient papyri, maps and coins, as well as microfilms from the 20th century. The Museum of Antiquities is also interesting, showing items excavated from the seabed near the Qaitbay fort, among other things. The exhibition also includes relics found during the construction of the new library, such as the head of the Ptolemy III statue and several Islamic exhibits.

Examples of exquisite Arabic calligraphy can be seen at the exhibition of the brothers Muhammad and Kamel Ibrahim, the founders of one of the oldest Arabic calligraphy schools in the Arab world. The Awad Exhibition takes us into the world of Alexandria of bygone eras. The maps, engravings, drawings, paintings and photographs presented there show Alexandria over the course of the 15th-20th centuries, hence the other name of the exhibition - Alexandria Impressions.

A treat for cinema fans will be an exhibition about the outstanding Egyptian director Shadi Abdel Salam (1930-1986). His greatest work was the movie "The Mummy. The Night of Counting the Years". Abdel Salam also worked in painting, architecture, photography and fashion design. At the exhibition, you can see the costumes and furniture designed by him for the film, as well as photos taken during the filming of the scenes.

An additional attraction in the Library of Alexandria is the Planetarium Science Center. It houses a 3D digital cinema, ALEXplorarium - an interactive exhibition and museum in one, and the Museum of the History of Science. The latter is divided into three divisions: Pharaonic Egypt, Hellenistic Alexandria, Arab-Islamic Middle Ages. They all present the achievements of individual cultures.