Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the President of the Republic of Greece, had a meeting on Monday with Mostafa El Feki, Director of the Center of Hellenistic Studies at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, in which he highlighted the importance of the library to global culture.
Pavlopoulos welcomed El Feki along with Marianna Vardinoyannis, who is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador as well as the founder of the Library of Alexandria’s Center for Hellenistic Studies.
”For us Greeks, the New Library of Alexandria is an extension of the past, and symbolizes the spirit of the Old Library of Alexandria,” the President stated. He added that ”the Old Library was a beacon of global spirit and culture, and now, the New Library of Alexandria can and should contribute to global culture itself.”
The ancient Alexandrian library, sometimes called the “Great Library of Alexandria” was the largest and most significant library of ancient times, and some consider it to be one of the ancient wonders of the world.
The original idea for the construction of a global library came from Demetrius of Phalerum, an exiled Athenian politician who lived in Alexandria. The colossal institution was established in the 3rd century BC, during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
It was dedicated to the Nine Muses, who were considered to be the goddesses of the arts.
The library survived for many decades, but a large part of it, and many of its countless volumes, burned down in the year 48 BC. It managed to survive the fire but it never came close to returning to its original magnificence.
The library shut down completely sometime in the third century AD.
The new library of Alexandria, called the ”Bibliotheca Alexandrina,” opened in 2002 and is an attempt to reestablish the glory of the old library and reconnect it with the modern world of today.