Alexandria Library to Open Officially in February
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a $200 million project, sponsored by UNESCO, and an imposing cylindrical structure standing like a huge shining beacon on the shores of Alexandria's coastline, is due to open in February 2002.
Early this month, Egypt’s first lady Suzanne Mubarak inaugurated the trial opening of the Library, delivering a speech in which she said Egypt wants the library to be a "window for Egypt to the world and a window for the world to Egypt."
The ceremony included the honoring of a Nobel Laureate Nagig Mahfouz and artist Salah Taher, along with a number of officials who took part in realizing the project.
The three-day event also included seminars, art and book exhibitions.
The drive to rebuild a world-class library in Alexandria began in 1990 when President Hosni Mubarak called on the world to support the project as “ a center for tolerance and dialogue between the peoples of the world.”
Construction was repeatedly delayed, and the seven-story building was completed more than two years late and $30 million over budget, according to reports were published in Cairo.
The AP said that a major concern is the shortage of books. Built to accommodate at least 4 million works, the library has only 200,000 so far.
The formal opening of the library is set for April 23 - UN International Book Day.
The Egyptian ruler Ptolemy I Soter began the Great Library of Alexandria in the grounds of his royal palace in about 295 B.C. The site is not known, but recent excavations have revealed the palace grounds reached as far as the waterfront abutting the new library. The modern builders dug up ancient mosaics, and these are displayed in the new library – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)