10 of the World's Most Beautiful Libraries

10 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

For some, music is the way to escape from reality and for others, they are books. Many of the world’s most beautiful libraries are open to the public in order to encourage reading. These historic places are filled with thousands of books that have been collected for centuries. They are filled with historical books, paintings, and carvings; which would attract anyone from around the globe. Here, we have picked our favorites and the most beautiful libraries from around the world.




1. Klementinum library -Prague, Czech Republic

Library, libraries, Prague, history
Image: Jonathan Francisca

The Klementinum library in Prague is considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. First opened in 1722 as part of the Jesuit University, it holds over 20,000 historical books. The ceiling was painted by Jan Hiebl. Some of the most prominent historical books housed by this library were sent to Google to be scanned and made available to the public as Google Books. The Klementinum used to be the third largest Jesuit college in the world. Recording weather data began in 1775 and has continued ever since.

2. Rijksmuseum Research Library – Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, libraries
Image: Will van Wingerden

The Dutch national museum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808. Constructed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, it is dedicated to arts and history and first opened its doors in 1885. With over four floors, the library contains 450,000 volumes for bookworms to indulge themselves in.

3. Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, Deutschland

Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, Deutschland
Image: Tobias Fischer

The Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart public library, was designed by Young Yi, a Korean architect, and opened to the public in 2011. The library cube glows at night in an iridescent blue. Stuttgart’s intellectual and cultural center is open to people of every nation. The word “Library” is inscribed on the outer walls; in silver letters in English on the west wall, in German on the north, in Korean on the East and in Arabic on the south.




4. Royal Portuguese Reading Room – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Royal Portuguese Reading Room in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, libraries
Image: Gabriel Ghnassia

Known as Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura in Portugese, the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading was opened in 1887. The place is filled with an endless collection of Portuguese texts to readers in Rio de Janeiro and was founded by a trio of Portuguese immigrants whose aim was to heighten the country’s literary tradition. Today, the cabinet holds more than 350,000 titles, to become one of the largest collection of Portuguese works outside of Portugal.

5. The Long Room Library at Trinity College – Dublin, Ireland

The library of Trinity College, Ireland, country, life
Image: j zamora

The Long Room Library at Trinity College was built between 1712 and 1732 and holds more than 200,000 of the oldest books in history. In 1860, the existing shelves were overflowing with books, which prompted the addition of the barrel ceiling; in order to allow more space. Created by sculptor Peter Schemakers, the library holds some of the rarest books known to exist.

6. Bibliothéque Sainte-Geneviéve – Paris, France

Bibliothéque Sainte-Geneviéve, Paris, France
Image: Marie-Lan Nguyen

Designed by Henri Labrouste in 1843, the library was built between 1845 and 1851. The Sainte-Geneviéve in Paris is one of the greatest cultural buildings of the nineteenth century to be constructed using iron. Books are stored on either side, while huge iron columns from the middle hold the structure together. Today, it is part of a university and contains more than 2 million holdings.




7. El Ateneo – Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Ateneio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Image: Jeison Higuita

The El Ateneo was originally built in 1919 as a performing arts theater, then as a cinema and today, it’s a bookstore/library. During its glory days as a theater, it held shows of many prominent figures. In 1929, the theater was transformed into a cinema and in 2000, it was converted into a bookstore and music shop. Although it is officially a bookstore, the El Ateneo does contain an opulent display of books that bibliophiles would love to indulge in. If that’s not a reason enough to go spend some time reading, then the place also offers readers to sip on coffee and enjoy live piano music.

8. Bibliotheque Nationale de France – Paris

National library, France, reading, facts, love
Image: Vincent Desjardins

Also known as the National Library of France, it contains one of the grandest collections of printed material in the world. Founded by Charles V in 1368, it was the largest library in the world until the 1800’s. With more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts and extensive collections, it is still one of the greatest libraries in the world.

9. Admont Abbey Library – Austria

Bibliothek, Austria, Stift Admont
Image: Jorge Royan

The Admont Abbey Library was founded by monks in 1074. Located high in the mountains, the Abbey receives some 80,000 visitors every year who come to see its unique library and museums. The 70-meter long lobby, its flamboyant ceiling frescoes, wooden sculptures, gold busts and thousands of books are just a few of the main attractions.

10. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library – New Haven, USA

Beinecke Rare Book Library in New Haven, USA
Image: Michael Kastelic

Built in 1962, it is the largest in the world dedicated to the preservation and collection of rare books and manuscripts. One of the oldest books housed by this architectural masterpiece is a Gutenberg Bible from approximately 1454 (one of only 48 known examples of its kind). The library however is only open to Yale students and faculty, as well as visiting researchers. Those who wish to read or conduct research are assigned special reading rooms which are closely controlled.




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