Beyond books, libraries are edifices which stand as testaments to art and culture. From libraries containing renaissance art to those which possess medieval reading rooms, here are ten of the most beautiful libraries in the world you must visit.
George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
It’s Stack Room has a five-tier soaring atrium with wrought-iron balconies and columns. Containing British and American history and 18th and 19th Century archaeological volumes, the library attracts bibliophiles.
It is said that when the Jesuits started building this library in Prague in 1622, they had just one book; by the time the library was done, they had up to 20,000 volumes. This library contains originals from its opening as well as volumes with original markers left by the Jesuits.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C was started by Thomas Jefferson after the original library burned down in 1814. It has a mosaic of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom above the main reading room. The main reading room also contains one of42 Gutenberg Bibles left in the world.
Central Library of Vancouver, Canada
This library which resembles a modern-day Coliseum has bridges which connect to the reading and study areas from the outer walls. The entrance to the Central Library is a huge sky lit concourse which acts as a gathering point.
Musashino Art University Museum and Library, Tokyo
This library which is made entirely of wood bookshelves with a glass exterior haslight-filled, comfortable corners for reading and easy access to volumes.
Austrian National Library, Vienna
There is a statue of Minerva, standing guard over this as old as 1723 library. It used to be the palace library till it was taken over by the state in 1920. Apart from books, the main hall features many frescoes and gilt.
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, England
The Duke Humfrey medieval reading room in this library was used as the Hogwarts library in theHarry Potter movies. To gain access to the reading rooms and the RadcliffeCamera in the library, your tour must be guided.
Beitou Branch of the Taipei Public Library, Taiwan
This eco-friendly library with rooftop gardens, park setting and airy, sunlit interior is a gorgeous place for visitors to read a book on open-air balconies.
New York Public Library
This library contains the Rose Main Reading Room which stretches approximately two city blocks. There are murals and rotating exhibitions which include an originalBill of Rights in the library.
Marciana Library, Venice
This library is one of the earliest surviving libraries in Italy. Its construction began in1537 and continued for over 50 years. There are over 750,000 books, 13,000manuscripts and 24,000 prints in the library’s collection. There are also works by Venetian artists like Titian, Tintoretto and Alessandro on the walls and ceilings in this library.
So if you are abibliophile or a lover of art and beauty go ahead and visit any of these libraries.