Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Library of Alexandria

To those people that say 'the Egyptians were great in the past, but could never build buildings like the pyramids any more' (and there are many that do). I say one thing - go visit the Bibliotheca Alexandria. It's big, it's beautiful and it's got very funky lighting (see photo below).

From the outside, the library looks like a giant discus embedded in the ground, reflecting the rays of the sun. On the back of the outside wall all manner of linguistic symbols are inscribed (from Amharic to Algebraic). Inside, there is shelf space for several million books all within a naturally lit, airy space with good (quiet) acoustics. The architecture is a triumph (I'm not sure the photos really capture it) and the whole library has a light yet academic feel to it.

In fact, all of Alexandria that we saw has a light and fun feel to it. The locals seemed far friendlier and more pleasant than some of the relatively surly Cairenes I bumped into and we were laughing and joking with four of them minutes after leaving the library.

Alexandria is strung out along the sea front, the perfect venue for spectacular Cannes-crossed-with-Havana sunset strolls. Dinner was all you can eat seafood (very tasty). Then I passed out.


Hopefully it's just a 24 hour bug, but after passing out in the restaurant I spent most of the following day in bed feeling very ill. First time that's happened (the fainting thing), I hope it's also the last.

Like a discus embedded in the ground.

Inside is bright, naturally lit by day, and airy.

Funky lighting on the bookshelves. Ikea would be proud.

The planetarium next to the library. More funky lighting - Habitat would be proud.

View from the library across to the fort at the far end of the Corniche.


Post a Comment

<< Home