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4 Must-Visit Libraries In The Middle East

For generations, the Middle East has been home to renowned authors and works of literature that have inspired readers with knowledge, as well as through entertainment. It is also a region where some of the world’s first libraries were born, such as the Great Library of Alexandria, said to have been established sometime around 285–246 BC, during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, a pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt. Today, the Middle East is home to some of the most impressive contemporary libraries in the world, and here are four of the best ones worth check

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King Fahad National Library (Riyadh)

King Fahad National Library is one of Saudi Arabia's most reputable libraries, but also among the most influential in Riyadh. At the forefront in preserving the Kingdom's heritage, among its expertise is collecting manuscripts and rare books, but also archiving documents including newspapers. Furthermore, the library also offers many other services via its official website such as inquiries on registered PhDs, and requesting lists of sources.

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Mohammed Bin Rashid Library (Dubai)

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is a new landmark that embodies the UAE and the region's history, culture, and literature, and currently serves as the nation's melting pot for literature, culture, and tourism. Taking up an area of 54,000 square meters, this modern landmark consists of seven floors with various libraries, as well as other facilities such as a study room, a bookstore, a digitization lab, theaters, and more. In addition to regional works, the library also has international books totaling nearly a million in both physical and digital books.

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Al-Qarawiyyin Library (Morocco)

Al-Qarawiyyin Library is one of Morocco's oldest libraries dating back to the 9th century. Situated in the city of Fez, this UNESCO heritage site is famously known for being founded by a woman, Fatima Muhammad Al-Fihri Al-Quraysh, who wanted to challenge assumptions of women's contributions to society. It is part of an overall facility including a university and a mosque, and has since reopened to the public after restoration efforts in 2016.

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Qatar National Library (Doha)

Situated at Doha's Education City is the Qatar National Library, which prides itself in preserving Gulf heritage while providing access to over one million books. Also serving as a research center, it consists of Doha's national library, a public library, and a university library, and also works to preserve manuscripts from Islamic eras. Furthermore, its official website offers additional services including online resources, online exhibitions, a digital library, and more.

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