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Iran Opens the World’s Largest Bookstore in Tehran

August 23rd, 2017 | by MuslimScience
Iran Opens the World’s Largest Bookstore in Tehran
2017
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Persian literature that spans over two and a half millennia is arguably the oldest and greatest literature in human history. Persian poets like Rumi and Omer Khayyam continue to influence even Western modern day poets and writers while also captivating millions by their literary masterpieces. However, today a strong reading culture is still nonexistent in the Iranian society despite having a treasure trove of literary classics. This is partly due to government censorships, intense scrutiny of published content and strongly regulated media. The Guardian reports that “Iran has censored its literature for years, making publishers submit their books to the government so it can check for inappropriate content before publication.”

Despite being the unlikeliest of places for bibliophiles and literary enthusiasts, Iran is credited with organizing an annual book fair the Tehran International Book Fair. In 2004, the idea to establish the world’s largest book complex as an alternative to the yearly book fair was put forth. After more than a decade later the idea materialized in the form of the world’s largest book and scientific complex that spans over 100, 000 square meters and hosts multiple bookstores, a restaurant, an art gallery and 10 amphitheaters.

The facility that boasts of 400,000 books in 70,000 topics featuring writers from around the world also has quiet reading spaces for focused reading. This project – the first of its kind in the region is unique with respect to its scale and functionality.

The project was formally inaugurated in July marked by a ceremony attended by the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.  Speaking at the event the mayor remarked: “The opening of the Book Garden is a big cultural event in the country, so that our children can make better use of this cultural and academic opportunity.”

The Tehran Book Garden is divided into four separate blocks and each is accorded a unique Persian name. Block A, named after a popular Persian prose “Baharestan” houses a permanent book enclosure. Blocks B and C make up the main entrances along with the book gardens amphitheater, a cultural gallery and cultural artifacts that are displayed for sale. This section which features the country’s biggest art gallery covering an area of around 1700 square km has some of the best art installations on display, featuring paintings, ceramics, handmade artifacts and visual displays from different regions. Block D called “Sarvestan” is a more specialized section comprising an entire floor which is dedicated to a hands on and engaging scientific center for kids and young adults. This section is well stocked carrying more than 30,000 books on a host of subjects. The 12,000 square meter science amusement park is a popular sight for kids providing them with an opportunity to experience scientific concepts with the help of scientific models and interactive, inquiry based displays.

Another interesting aspect of the garden is its Robotic Club which offers courses in a range of areas including artificial intelligence[1]. In terms of design the complex with plenty of green spaces on its rooftops is conceptualized around ancient Persian architecture. The complex being hailed as an urban green space intervention has plenty of green spaces inside covering over 20,000 square meters, this is in addition to the massive 25,000-square-metre roof garden.

Sources:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/07/iran-world-biggest-bookstore/

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Space-to-Read-in-Iran-as-the-Worlds-Biggest-Book-Garden-Opens-20170706-0042.html

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