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2/41.- Alexandria, the new bibliotheca alexandrina

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The city of Alexandria is worldwide known for two reasons: the lighthouse and the library. Nothing remains today of these wonders of the ancient times, though.

In 295 b.c, the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy I commissioned the construction of the great library of Alexandria. In the following years, local scientists traveled through the region to purchase books for the library. In times of Ptolemy III some of the more important books in the world were copied. The library also held originals of Aeschylus, Euripedes and Sophocles, and most probably the largest Greek collection, the library of Aristotle. The ancient library had 500,000 scrolls. All human knowledge was stored here, but its more important role was as a center for scientists and philosophers. Archimedes invented here the pump still in use today and known as archimedes' screw. Euclid wrote "Elements" (the base of the Euclidean geometry) and "optics" (a treatise of geometrical optics). Other famous scholars of this library isolated the function of the heart, calculated the circumference of the earth and came up with the concept of leap year.

In 48 b.c. The library, and at least 40,000 scrolls, burned when Julius Caesar attacked the harbor. 2,000 years later, after 10 years of planning, a new library stands in Corniche, near Silsila. At least 4 million titles and several multimedia resources will be stored here. The new bibliotheca Alexandrina also aims to attract international scholars.

In the photo you can see the $200 million new Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

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