While on a G Adventures tour of Egypt, I had the opportunity to visit Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Also known as the New Library of Alexandria, it is second in size only to the Library of Congress.
Designed to hold around eight million books, the impressive modern facility also houses art galleries and several museums including the Sadat Museum dedicated to the late Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat. The museum is located on the library’s lower level. According to tour guide Omnia Mohamed, the collection was donated to the library by Sadat’s widow Jehan Sadat.
As I walk through the small museum, Omnia points to several honors and decorations awarded to President Sadat in Egypt as well as other countries, and a number of gold, silver, bronze, and copper plates that he and Jehan Sadat received as gifts.
The collection includes his office complete with his desk, book case and books, and his favorite chair. There are a number of medals, a collection of civilian and military suits, and a collection of Arabian swords and memorial shields; even his personal cane and pipe are included in this visual archive.
There are many displays of personal correspondence and photos documenting his personal and public life including one of Sadat, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin clasping hands in 1979 after Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty.
The last glass-covered case displays the blood-stained military suit he was wearing on the day of his assassination; October 6, 1981.
It seems fitting that the museum is quiet on this day; a place to reflect on who this man was and what he contributed to his country and the world as well as his private life as husband and father.
Photos courtesy Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
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