Lebanon - Libraries and museums



Lebanon has about a dozen sizable libraries with specialized collections of books, manuscripts, and documents. Most libraries are in Beirut, but there are also collections at Sidon and Harissa. The National Library of Lebanon, founded in 1921, had more than 100,000 volumes when it was destroyed at the beginning of the war in 1975. By 2002, it had restored that collection to 150,000 volumes. The Arab University Library has 200,000 volumes, but the largest library is that of the American University in Beirut, with 546,000 volumes. St. Joseph University has several specialized libraries, including the Bibliothèque Orientale, with 400,000 volumes. The library of the St. John Monastery in Khonchara, founded in 1696, contains the first known printing press in the Middle East. The Université Saint-Esprit de Koslik in Jounieh has the largest provincial collection with 200,000 volumes.

The National Museum of Lebanon (1920), in Beirut, has a collection of historical documents and many notable antiquities, including the sarcophagus of King Ahiram (13th century BC ), with the first known alphabetical inscriptions. The American University Museum also has an extensive collection of ancient artifacts. Beirut also houses the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory of St. Joseph University. There is a small Khalil Gibran museum in Bghori.

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