The Library of Alexandria was maybe the greatest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. Located in Alexandria, Egypt, right on the Mediterranean, the library was burned by Julius Caesar in 48AD, and centuries worth of written wisdom were lost.
If you’re as upset about this fact as the rest of the internet, it’s probably too soon, but I come bearing good news: though we’ll probably never know exactly the magnitude of what we lost, there is now another library on the site of the burned one.
Image via Ancient World Magazine
The Maktabat El-Iskandarīyah (or… Library of Alexandria, in English) opened in 2002, and can hold up to eight million books, though it holds only about 100,000 now. This is equivalent to what scholars believe the Great Library, held in its day. Experts estimate the library won’t be full for another eighty years. The new Library of Alexandria is also home to seven specialized libraries, four museums, two extensive permanent collections, and access to the Internet Archive, a massive digital library.
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The ancient library was important not only in itself, as one of the most prestigious libraries of its age, but in that it was a model for other libraries which proliferated throughout the area in major cities and even in smaller ones. The new library, though modern, is both a memorial to the one that burned, and proof that knowledge is still valued as it was then. The library houses books in Classical Arabic, English, and French.
Featured image via Travel and Leisure