Egypt - Libraries and museums
In 2003 the Bibliotheca Alexandria was established on the site of the ancient library destroyed in a fire 2,000 years before. It is the largest library in the Middle East, and is a cultural center with exhibit areas, planetarium, and conference center. Egypt's other major libraries are the Egyptian National Library (2.5 million volumes), Alexandria University Library (with 15 collections, of which the largest—belonging to the Faculty of Arts—numbers 141,300 volumes), and the Cairo University Library (more than1.4 million volumes). The National Library also functions as the main public library for the nation's capital and supervises 11 branch libraries located throughout the country. The Municipal Library in Alexandria contains one of the country's largest public library collections, with 23,390 Arabic and 35,400 European volumes. One of the most important special libraries is the Scientific and Technical Documentation Division of the National Research Center at Cairo, which has the best collection of scientific and technical material in the Arab world. American University in Cairo (289,000 volumes) holds the Creswell Collection of Islamic art and architecture, comprising about 3,200 bound volumes. In all, Egyptian libraries affiliated with institutions of higher education hold over 35 million volumes.
The Egyptian National Museum, founded in 1902, contains unique exhibits from prehistoric times up to the 3rd century AD , and it also has a notable Department of Antiquities, established in 1835, which supervises excavations and administers archaeological museums. There are many specialized museums, including the Coptic Museum, devoted to the history of the old Christian Monophysites; the Museum of Islamic Art; the Greco-Roman Museum; the Agricultural Museum; the State Museum of Modern Art; the Islamic Archaeological Museum; the Railway Museum; and the Cotton Museum. There is a museum dedicated exclusively to the work of Mohmoud Mokhtar in Cairo. Several former royal palaces have been transformed into museums: the Al-Gawhara Palace in Cairo (a converted 19th-century Ottoman palace), Ras at-Tin Palace in Alexandria, and Al-Montazah Palace in Montazah-Alexandria.
In 1969, after the original site was flooded as a result of the building of the Aswan High Dam, two of the most famous monuments of ancient Egypt at Abu Simbel were removed and recreated on a different site. In 1976, the Temple of Isis and other monuments on Philae, an island flooded by the dammed waters, were similarly relocated. Of course, the pyramids and Sphinx at Giza remain one of the world's greatest historical tourist attractions.