The entrance and the interesting facade. A Norwegian Architecture firm won the rights to design the rebuilding of the library.
There is a small entrance fee. I can't remember how much it was, but it was worth whatever I paid for. And there was a free tour in English, which we didn't know they provide. Just ask the front desk for the time of tour. We didn't really know but we asked if a tour was available. This was an interesting tour - about 30 minutes long.
This is the roof from outside, all glass, and being cleaned. All these glass give out natural light to the interiors.
This is the roof from the street level. It is designed to imitate the rising sun. The architectural design is indeed pretty elaborate.
We walked up and down the stairs - to get some photos - after the tour.
It's huge. HUGE and so bright and airy.
The dimensions of the project are vast: the library has shelf space for eight million books, with the main reading room covering 70,000 m² on eleven cascading levels. The complex also houses a conference center; specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, the blind and visually impaired, young people, and for children; four museums; four art galleries for temporary exhibitions; 15 permanent exhibitions; a planetarium (pictured above); and a manuscript restoration laboratory. The library's architecture is equally striking. The main reading room stands beneath a 32-meter-high glass-panelled roof, tilted out toward the sea like a sundial, and measuring some 160 m in diameter. The walls are of gray Aswan granite, carved with characters from 120 different human scripts.
The collections at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina were donated from all over the world. The Spanish donated documents that detailed their period of Moorish rule. The French also donated, giving the library documents dealing with the building of the Suez Canal.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina maintains the only copy and external backup of the Internet Archive.
After the guided tour and our personal tour and photography sessions, we found there was plenty of time left. And while I was lingering on the art installations, my fellow travelers were up on the front desk requesting computer access. Apparently the library allows for a free hour computer use. Since I was eager to check in with my family, I went up to see a line has formed for the access. My gal pals were at the head of the line and I was at the very end. Then all of a sudden the first Egyptian girl (college age) walked to where I was standing and grabbed my arm and spoke to me - while pulling me to the front of the line. I politely said I wouldn't mind waiting my turn. She spoke to everyone behind her in line (all girls - separate lines for male and female) and everyone smiled and voiced no objections. I couldn't say no after that. Not even the woman behind the counter giving the access said anything, just handed me the access code. That was very sweet of them. I don't know if they do that for everybody, but I was the receiving end of random act of kindness and it felt good.
When I located the computer that was assigned to me, I saw two older gentlemen sitting at the table. I politely asked them to use the computer. They asked for my permit. They carefully inspected the paper I handed to them making sure I was at the right station. Then they asked me where I was from. When I said America they smiled and said, NO, where I was originally. :)
Their curiosity has been satisfied, they left me and my husband alone to check in with family and friends. Guess what? Email is blocked. But not FACEBOOK. So from the library computers, my traveling companions and I became facebook friends.
I believe one of the comments I received in this series is if my travel companions and I have contact. Yes we do is the answer. And the funny thing is my husband and I received travel dates with two different couples. I was floored. I asked my husband if we're that fun to travel with. I think it's my husband they wanted on their team because he not only has a great sense of direction, his common sense and adventurous nature make traveling fun.
Read up on the library here.