Reading a good book can transport you to another time and place, but so can a visit to one of the world many beautiful libraries. Filled with knowledge and splendour, just standing amidst these incredible books can be an incredible experience.
There are tons of beautiful libraries around the world, such as those listed in the recent book The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, by Italian photographer Massimo Listri. However, to start off, here are 11 spectacular libraries you have to see.
1Trinity College – Dublin, Ireland
Built on the remains of a 13th-century monastery, Ireland’s Trinity Coece was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. The university’s spectacular Old Library houses the 8th century Book of Kells, an embroidered Latin version of the Bible. Its Long Room also has over 200,000 of the library’s oldest books, and busts of famous men.
Also Read: 11 Places You Must See In Dublin
2Strahov Monastery Library – Prague, Czech Republic
This Premonstratensian abbey in Strahov, Prague, founded in 1143. Its library contains over 200,000 volumes and manuscripts. While you can’t actually sit down and read here, it is still one of the most beautiful libraries a book lover could visit.
3George Peabody Library – Baltimore, USA
The 19th century George Peabody Library was previously known as the Library of the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore. It was funded by the famous merchant and philanthropist George Peabody. The stunning Néo-Grec interiors were designed by Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind and opened to the public in 1878.
4Bodleian Library – Oxford, England
Oxford University is known for its magnificent libraries, and the Bodleian Library, the main research library, is no different. With over 12 million items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library, and its collection includes beautiful rare maps, a Shakespeare First Folio, and a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. . It is also one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the UK.
Also Read: 6 Places You Have To See At Oxford
5Stiftsbibliothek – St Gallen, Switzerland
The Abbey Library of Saint Gall was founded by Saint Othmar. While the Abbey itself was destroyed during a fire in 937, the library, now a Worl Heritage Site, was left unharmed. Its magnificent Rococo style hall was built by the architect Peter Thumb between 1758-67. The library has over 160,000 volumes as well as thousands of manuscripts and is the oldest and one of the most important libraries in Switzerland.
6Queen’s College Library – Oxford, England
Oxford’s Queen’s College Library is considerably smaller than the Bodleian Library but is famously beautiful. It was constructed at the end of the 17th century, and soon became a focal point for the College. It has over 120,000 items spread across the Upper and Lower Libraries. However, a modern extension was built in 2017.
7Bibliotheca Medicea Laurenziana – Florence, Italy
Known as the Laurentian Library this private library of the House of Medici was designed by Michelangelo in the Late Renaissance style. It is built between 1525-71 in a cloister of the massive Basilica di San Lorenzo in Florence and contains over 11,000 manuscripts and 4,500 early printed books.
8Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana – Rome, Italy
The Vatican Apostolic Library, or just the Vatican Library, is one of the oldest libraries in the world, though it was only formally established in 1475. Its significant collection of historical texts has over 1.1 million printed books and over 75,000 codices. The Vatican Secret Archives were separated at the start of the 17th century.
Also Read: Discover the Secrets of the Vatican
9Real Gabinete Português de Leitura – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading is a library and cultural institution. It was built in 1837 in the Portuguese Manueline (or Gothic-Renaissance) style and has the largest collection of Portuguese literature outside Portugal. It has over 350,000 works, many dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, as well as a small collection of paintings, sculptures and ancient coins.
10New York Public Library – New York City, USA
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library is a historic landmark in Midtown Manhattan. Guarded by marble lions, it is the flagship building of the NYPL system. Opened in 1911, it covers over 60,000 square meters and has been featured in various films. Don’t miss the Rose Main Reading Room and the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.
11Admont Abbey Library, Austria
Admont Abbey, a Benedictine monastery, is home to the largest monastic library in the world. While the Abbey itself was completed in 1074 the beautiful Baroque library (late was not completed until 1776. The impressive hall is filled with frescoes and sculptures and looks like something straight out of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It also has a collection of over 200,000 volumes.
Which of these beautiful libraries would you like to visit? Share them in the comments below. You can also check out more spectacular libraries here.