Weekend Feature: The Alexandria Library

For the traveller, Egypt is no longer just pyramids and pharaoes. From now on, the new library in Alexandria is also a tourist landmark. The Norwegian designed giant library was opened this past week, with the Norwegian Education Minister Kristin Clemet present. For the traveller, Egypt is no longer just pyramids and pharaoes. From now on, the new library in Alexandria is also a tourist landmark.

The Norwegian designed giant library was opened this past week, with the Norwegian Education Minister Kristin Clemet present.The beautiful building, designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snoehetta (Snowcap), has cost NOK 450 million to build, and was opened by President Hosny Mubarak on Wednesday.

The library was not only designed by Norwegian architects. It was painted, using Norwegian paints, and filled with Norwegian interiors. Even the signs are Norwegian designed, the newspaper VG writes.

The library will function as a powerhouse for knowledge and learning in the Mediterranean region, and contains even a children's library and one for the blind.

But, the newspaper writes, the building will just as much become a tourist attraction, with its special form. The building lies turned towards the sea, just adjacent to the site of the ancient Alexandria Library which was destroyed by fire several hundred years before Christ.

The library will eventually contain 8 million books and an exhibition of ancient manuscripts.

However, wherever you turn, you will be reminded that the building is created by Norwegians and designed by Norwegians, VG writes.

-We have reached our goal, 13 years after we started. We are very satisfied with the result, says Project Director Kjetil Thorsen of the architecture firm Snoehetta.

(The firm has its name from one of Eastern Norway's most striking snowcapped mountaintops, Snoehetta)

The original plan called for the library to be opened in the presence of Norway's Queen Sonja on April 23, but President Mubarak cancelled the opening at that time due to the Israeli military offensive against the Palestinians.

VG's reporter: Odd Helge Brogrand
Edited and adapted for The Norway Post: Rolleiv Solholm

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