The new Alexandria Library, inaugurated in 2003, has set itself a challenging task: it aims to live up to the example set by its predecessor, the Ancient Library of Alexandria, widely recognized as the greatest library of classical times. Built on the harbor near what is thought to have been the site of the old library, the building itself is quite breathtaking.
A giant glass disc, tilted towards the sea, it is a stunning complex in three parts: a conference center, a planetarium, and the new library itself, connected by a plaza. Outside, carved into its shield-like, curved granite walls, are letters in more than a hundred different scripts, intended to invite understanding between all cultures and nationalities.
Inside, arranged over 11 cascading levels, there are reading rooms and enough shelf space to stack eight million tomes.