Amazon may claim the title of the largest bookstore in the world, but the largest bricks-and-mortar store where you can walk in and touch the actual products is called the Book Garden. It is located in Tehran, Iran, and was opened in July 2017.
The vast bookstore is only one of the sections of the spacious 65,000 square meter (about 700,000 square feet) building. All and all, it is more like a cultural center than a bookstore alone. The center features movie theaters, science halls, classrooms, a restaurant, and a prayer room. A park on the roof is reserved for reading outdoors.
The building has enough floor space indoors for fourteen football fields, and over 10,000 square meter rooftop park.
Iran has been in the news for its efforts to censor the written word, but the bookstore has a large selection of English titles as well. More than 30,000 titles are available for children alone.
View a film by Iran PressTV that shows the different sections of the large building. The architect tells about the spacious design.
The Guinness World Records regards the Barnes & Noble along Fifth Avenue in New York City the biggest bookstore on earth (before the Book Garden was opened). Barnes & Noble Fifth Avenue has more than 19 km /12 miles of shelves.
After the Berlin wall was torn down in 1989 and German’s capital was reunited, the old metropolis quickly became a popular travel destination. For young Europeans the city also became a place to move in and to live in an artistic, liberal environment. Berlin has attracted business talent as well; today, it has the capital of startup companies in Germany.
When Germany was reunited 25 years ago, some places on the east side of the cold war border were left empty. People moved to the west side of the old border because that is where the jobs were. Ever since then, many towns in the former East Germany (DDR) have attracted urban explorers who have discovered exotic empty buildings and villages in there.
One of them is German Arno Specht who has traveled in former East Germany for almost ten years, and photographed in Berlin, Leipzing and Dresden, among other places. His photos are displayed on Deutsche Welle’s video below.
In Berlin empty buildings are primarily discovered on the east side of the city. Not all buildings are open for exploring and photographing, but tour guide Arnas Diemann knows the best places and organizes tours for explorers and photographers into the buildings.
A house made of books? It has to be a library. Sure, but Lacuna project is more: it is really a building that has been constructed from books.
Lacuna is an art installation constructed from 50 000 books. It is also a library where people can walk in, browse the bookshelves, and borrow books. Since the walls of Lacuna are made of books, the building will change as people take and return items from shelves.
The building will open at the Bay Area Book Festival in June 2015 in Berkeley, California.