Buenos Aires’ Tower of Babel: The book version

Nadine Bells
Good News

UNESCO named Buenos Aires the World Book Capital 2011. To celebrate the designation, Argentine artist Marta Minujin built a multi-language book tower.

The 25-metre-high structure is a modern-day take on the biblical Tower of Babel.


Most of the world's languages and dialects are represented in the 30,000-book spiral tower.

The sculpture consists of six levels. The bottom boasts a worldwide collection of books; the first and second levels are American books; the third and fourth are European tomes; the fifth is dedicated to African books; and the sixth is for Asia.

About half of the books were donated by Argentine readers, while the other half came from 52 embassies located in Buenos Aires.

As visitors admire the literary Tower of Babel — on display in Plaza Sam Martin until May 28th — they hear a soundtrack with the word "book" repeated in different languages.

When the tower is eventually dismantled, the books will be donated to create a multilingual library in Buenos Aires.