Libraries are one of the most remarkable human inventions: they hold within their walls a wealth of knowledge, history, and information. These spaces serve as the guardians of countless books, manuscripts, and artifacts that represent our collective cultural heritage and they offer a wealth of resources to anyone who wishes to learn, explore, or escape into the pages of a good book. Here are some of the most magnificent libraries in the world!
1. Library of Alexandria
Constructed between 242 BC and 222 BC under the rule of Ptolemy II, the magnificent library of Alexandria, located in Egypt, stood as a monumental edifice. This library held immense prominence, ranking among the most sizable libraries of antiquity. It constituted a component of the expansive scholarly establishment known as the Moseion, an institution devoted to the nine artistic goddesses, the Muses. It was not easy to determine the size of the library's collection size, but among other things, there were papyrus scrolls accidentally destroyed by Julius Caesar during his civil war in 48 BC.
As a research institution, the Library filled its stacks with new works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, natural sciences, and other subjects. The library dwindled during the Roman period from a lack of funds and support. Pluto, Aristotle, Sotades, Aeschylus, Euripides, and Theophrastus were among the scholars who made use of the Library of Alexandria.
2. Epos Ship Library
The Epos Ship Library, a mobile library, was active in the Norwegian counties of Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, and Møre og Romsdal. The operations and services commenced in 1959 and were launched in the year 1963. The Library has thousands of collections in its domain and has the ability to visit tiny places in the three countries twice a year. A total of 53,300 books were said to be available for loan in the year 2005 for the services. The Epos Ship Library was rendered for 126 days.
3. Tianjin Binhai Library
Situated in China, the Tianjin Binhai Library is affectionately called “The Evil Eye” due to its unique design featuring bookshelves integrated into the ceiling, resembling an eye. As a cultural hub, this library is one of China's top five landmarks. It was established in October 2017 with a collection of 1.2 million books. Its total space is 33,700 square meters. The Tianjin Library can host more than 5,000 visitors daily. Its facilities include a lounge area, reading rooms, computer rooms, meeting spaces, and offices. Despite its stunning and distinctive architectural design, this magnificent structure was constructed in just three years.
4. Al-Qarawlyyin Library
Al-Qarawlyyin Library is located in Morocco, the oldest Library in the world. It was built in 859 by Fatima Al-Fihri, the daughter of a wealthy merchant living in Fez. It contains mainly scholarly collections such as a 9th-century historical text, Muquddimah of Ibn Khadun, and the oldest-known collection of accounts of Prophet Muhammad's life and writings. For centuries, historians and scholars have traveled worldwide to investigate the materials within the library's book collection. The Al-Qarawlyyin Library went through a phase of neglect, leading to the development of wall cracks and the vanishing of specific books. Nevertheless, in 2012, it underwent a process of restoration and rejuvenation, introducing contemporary book collections and state-of-the-art facilities.
5. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
This Library is the newest and most amazing library in the Arab world, and it's located in the Al-Jaddaf area of Dubai. It is the most modern library in the world, and it features a unique design. The building started in February 2016, and the library opened for use in June 2022. It is a cultural center in the Arab World that exemplifies its purpose through architecture as an “open book resting on the holder.”
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library has a space of 54,000 square meters and has over a million print and digital books as well as over 6 million research articles. An entire floor of the library is dedicated to rare and antique items, including items dating as far back as the 13th century.
6. Vatican Apostolic Library
The Vatican Apostolic Library is also known as the Vatican Library. Located in Vatican City and established in 1475 founded by Pope Sixtus IV (1471 – 1484), It was the Library of the Holy See, though not the oldest.
However, Vatican Library has the most significant collections of historical texts, with over 2 million collections, codices, and incunabula. It is mostly a research Library for history, law, philosophy, science, and theology scholars. One striking service rendered by the Vatican library is that the photocopying of pages from books published between 1801 and 1990 can be requested in person or by mail. The library started digitizing its collection in March 2014.
7. National Library of Greece
The National Library of Greece was established in the year 1832 by Loannis Kapodistrias with a mission to locate, collect, organize, describe, and preserve the artifacts of Greece culture over time. The library was located in Athens, Greece. It was basically a custodian of the Greek literary heritage, bridging the past, the present, and the future. It has a history barn over two centuries, from the 9th to the 19th centuries. The Library gradually migrated from traditional to digital space with new facilities.
The National Library of Greece is one of the first to provide a comprehensive library service. It has established a public division featuring distinct collections for children, adolescents, and adults, complemented by various educational and interactive programs. Their special collections, including several outstanding treasures of Greece’s printed heritage, were accompanied on their arrival to the library by Greek police, according to procedures that demanded the protection and safe delivery of their national relics.
Conclusively Libraries are established to provide access to information and to aid civilization and development. Information resource acquisition, processing, dissemination, storage, and preservation are paramount to any society. Most Countries know the importance of this, so they're willing to spend huge amounts to erect magnificent libraries to preserve culture and learning for future generations.
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