“The Royal Library of Alexandria, also known as the Great Library in Alexandria, Egypt, was once the largest library in the world.
It is generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the Third century BC, during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt. The Library was likely created after his father had built what would become the first part of the Library complex, the temple of the Muses – the Mouseion. The Greek Μουσείον was the home of music and poetry, a philosophical school and library such as Plato’s school of philosophy, also a gallery of sacred texts. The Latin word museum is derived from this.
It has been reasonably established that the Library or parts of the collection were destroyed by fire on a number of occasions (library fires were common and replacement of handwritten manuscripts was extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming). To this day the details of the destruction (or destructions) remain a lively source of controversy. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, an institution intended both as a commemoration and an emulation of the original, was inaugurated in 2003 near the site of the old Library.” <wiki>