Our fast-growing cities sometimes lack tranquility. It seems that we have gone headlong into technology and have grown accustomed to our gadgets. Fortunately, there are still places on earth that are not subject to time. We present to you 10 of the most beautiful libraries in the world , within the walls of which history comes to life.
1. Library of the Abbey of Admont
Unexpectedly for everyone, the largest and most beautiful monastery library in the world is located in the hinterland of Austria. The spacious and light baroque hall as if plunges the visitor into a fairy tale. Baroque is considered the age of Reason and Enlightenment, and here it is felt to the full.
From the ceilings, readers look at frescoes by Bartolomeo Altomonte (the artist was 82 years old at the time of creation!), Depicting the various stages of the formation of the human mind. The library is famous for its huge collection of volumes and manuscripts, the most valuable of which date back to the 8th century AD.
The abbey itself was founded back in 1074. It developed actively in the Middle Ages and served as a religious and educational center. Its opulent library was finalized in 1776 and now welcomes guests from all over the world.
2. Library of the monastery of St. Gall
St. Gallen, Switzerland
The UNESCO-recognized St. Gallen Library is a true masterpiece of architecture. The luxurious decor of the Rococo era with its graceful frescoes and figurines of playful cherubs left its mark here. The oldest and most beautiful library in Switzerland keeps about 170,000 books, as well as the most valuable manuscripts, many of which are more than 1000 years old. She is famous, including one of the most recognizable literary creations – the German epic of the 12th century “The Song of the Nibelungs.”
The library is free to visit and allows guests to familiarize themselves with almost any work. However, special attention is paid to copies published before the 20th century – the most sophisticated readers can view them in a specially designated room.
3. Strahov library
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague pleases both architecture connoisseurs and gourmets, while craft beer lovers simply rejoice here. But there is a place in this city that beckons with the secrets of the past. The Strahov Monastery gave the Czech Republic and the whole world one of the most beautiful libraries. The book depository boasts a huge collection of volumes, old maps and manuscripts. There is a theological hall in the Baroque style, a hall of philosophers and a room of curiosities – all of which are open to visitors.
Throughout its history, the famous monastery managed to change as many as three architectural styles, either through the fault of a monk who fell asleep over a candle, which resulted in a fire, or because of political machinations. All these changes have had time to be reflected in the library, which makes its history truly unique.
4. Library of El Escorial
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
The Royal Library was built in the 16th century by order of Philip II, who was imbued with a love of literature and philosophy from childhood. The king read books on any subject – whether it be ancient works, medieval treatises, or even the Koran, which is taboo to be read in the royal family. It was quite natural for Philip to want to create his own library, and he succeeded quite well.
It is known that the Spanish king invited Italian craftsmen from the Vatican to find out the secrets of decor from them. The El Escorial Library is the only one in the world where all the tomes are turned with the spines inward. This was done in order to preserve the decorations of the bindings, but there is an opinion that in this way Philip wanted to hide forbidden books from unnecessary eyes.
The famous place works to this day and any visitor can enjoy its rich collection.
5. Library of the Abbey in Melk
If you’ve read the detective novel “The Name of the Rose”, or watched the film of the same name with Sean Connery in the lead roles, then it’s easy for you to imagine what served as the prototype for the famous place. Twelve themed rooms, secret doors in shelves, dark wood decorated with inlays, beautiful frescoes, hundreds of manuscripts – the amazingly beautiful library of the Abbey in Melk does not surprise the visitor. There is also a scriptorium in which Benedictine monks worked tirelessly, creating duplicates of valuable manuscripts. Now you can immerse yourself in the world of the Middle Ages and learn more about the abbey by ordering a tour with a guide who will tell you all the secrets of the past. They say that local monks make excellent Pinot Noir.
6. National Library of the Czech Republic
Old Town, Prague
And we again go to the Czech Republic, this time to the central library, located in the complex building of the Jesuit college or Clementinum. It is simply impossible to pass by this place. The library is located near the famous Charles Bridge and is a creation of the Baroque era. The impressive area of the college of 20,000 square meters contains 7 million literary works of local writers, as well as masters of Turkey, Iran, India and other countries. The library has about 60,000 registered readers, and in 2005 it was awarded a UNESCO Prize for a large-scale project, as a result of which 1,700 old documents were digitized.
7. Austrian National Library
Former imperial library with a real imperial collection. It was founded by Duke Albrecht III in the 18th century and since then its shelves have been replenished with the most priceless and diverse materials. Here you will find papyri of the 15th century BC, and the works of the brave Generalissimo Eugene of Savoy, as well as manuscripts of the great reformer of the Protestant faith, Martin Luther. In total, the library contains 7.5 million books by Austrian and foreign authors. Its grand hall impresses with its graceful style and dimensions – 80 meters long and 20 meters wide. The library has a main hall, photo archives, music archives and three museums, one of which contains a whole collection of works in Esperanto.
8. Trinity College Library
How about taking a walk down the 65-meter corridor along the countless creations of the chroniclers of the past? They say that the smell of books in this beautiful library is simply extraordinary. However, Trinity College Library is not only famous for its Long Room. Its walls keep one of the oldest copies of the Bible – the Book of Kells. Created in the 8th century by Celtic monks, it is adorned with sophisticated and beautiful illustrations. The book is considered one of the most significant works of Irish art and the real pride of the nation. Every day tourists, students and college professors can enjoy the rich atmosphere of the library. Also, from Monday to Friday at 3 pm, local guides give a short lecture on the history of Dublin’s most famous book depository, available to all visitors.
9. National Library of Finland
The oldest and most beautiful library in Finland, which serves as a university and national library. Throughout its history, it has accumulated many exclusive editions. The book depository has one of the most valuable and rare collections of books from the times of the Russian Empire. The architecture of the building, built according to the plan and drawings of the architect Karl Ludwig Engel, deserves special attention.
10. Library of Congress
Our list is completed by the largest library in the world. Its mighty marble and granite walls housed 167 million storage units. Here you will see printed works in 470 languages, great collections of Russian, Chinese and Japanese literature, and even the recipe for pancakes by the famous activist Rosa Parks, but this is a completely different story. Every year the library fund is replenished with at least a million new copies. And it’s all digitized. Impressive.
The Book Palace itself was founded by President John Adams on April 14, 1800, the day the US capital was moved from Philadelphia to Washington. The library is free to visit, as well as a large number of interesting events.