Interior of the modern Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt. Photograph by Carsten Whimster.
Built to commemorate the ancient library of Alexandria, the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina was conceived as a center for cultural and scientific excellence. The design was awarded to the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, after a competition organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Completed in 2002, it was constructed near the site of the ancient library. The collection consists of books in Arabic, English, and French and can accommodate eight million volumes. The library holds the book collections of Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature from 1901 to the present. It is also home to a conference center, specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, Braille, and children’s materials as well as home to four museums and a planetarium.