By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- Rami Library, created from the restoration of the historic Rami Artillery Barracks dating back to 1770, set to open on Friday with a unique twist. What makes Rami Library a standout on the global library scene won’t just be the seven million books it will contain – it will be the fact that for the first time ever in Istanbul, a library will be available 24/7.
Designed as a large campus, the new Rami Library was created with a multitude of users in mind. There will be individual and group reading halls, activity areas, workshop spaces and a disability center prepared for those with physical or mental challenges. In addition, there are also special seminar and exhibition spaces along with specially designated conversation areas.
A major purpose of designing the Rami Library as a campus is to serve a wide range of the public that includes young children, youth, university students, academicians, the general public, readers and researchers. Rami Library is the latest in a series of cultural projects that have taken place in the last several years with the goal of raising awareness in education, specifically reading. The concept is to reimagine Istanbul as a valley of books, perhaps following in the image of the former Constantinople as a center of culture during the Ottoman era.
The project to restore and renovate the historical site into a library was initially announced by Turkish President Erdogan in June 2018. Rami Barracks was built during the period of Sultan Mustafa III then renovated and expanded by Sultan Mahmud II between the years of 1828-1829. The former barrackes were used as Sultan Abdulmecid’s military headquarters during the Crimean War and were last in use during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II.