Ottoman-era barracks reopen as Istanbul’s largest library

The Ottoman-era Rami Barracks has opened its doors as the largest library in Istanbul with an initial collection of over 2.5 million volumes and 4,200 person capacity.

Built during the reign of Sultan Mustafa III (1757-1774), the compound served as barracks for centuries until 1971, and as the military and administrative headquarters of Sultan Mahmut II during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government was nearing its goal of constructing 100 new libraries by the Turkish republic’s 100th anniversary, which will be on Oct. 29, 2023.

The restoration of the compound began in 2014. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering visitors free soup and beverages.

With 36,000 square meters of enclosed space and 51,000 square meters of open area, it ranks as one of the largest libraries in the world in terms of total area, the library’s General Coordinator Osman Zorlu told reporters. ■

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