Beautiful libraries are all over the globe, often conveying the tales of the past and offering advice for the future, helping to bring communities together while also providing insight into the character and history of a city.
This collection of libraries celebrates the creativity of its creators as well as the value of their holdings via dramatic ceiling frescoes, stunning architecture, and cutting-edge design.
This collection of beautiful places, which range from an environmentally aware beauty in Taiwan to a fairy-tale-like Austrian stunner, is noteworthy for both its design and the books that line their shelves.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of gorgeous architecture or a self-described bibliophile, these 20 stunning libraries will undoubtedly make it into your literary bucket list.
20). Rampur Raza Library is located in the Indian city of Rampur
The Rampur Raza Library, which is housed in the old residence of Nawab Hamid Ali Khan, has a significant collection of Indo-Islamic literature, including manuscripts, Islamic calligraphy, and the original manuscript of the first translation of the Quran, among other things.
Aside from Islamic texts, the area also has 17,000 manuscripts in a variety of languages spanning from Arabic to Turkish, as well as 60,000 printed volumes, according to the museum’s website.
19). The Wiblingen Monastery Library Ulm, Germany
While the Wiblingen Monastery was established in 1093, the quirky Rococo library, designed by Christian Wiedemann, was not finished until 1744.
The hand-carved wooden columns and statues, which have been painted to seem like marble, represent the Christian virtues and disciplines, with the books arranged in a manner that corresponds to the positions of the figures.
The 15,000-item collection contains a significant amount of iconography associated with both Pagan and Christian religions.
18). Tokyo’s Tama Art University Library is a treasure trove of Japanese art and culture
The concrete arches of the Tama Art University Library are both minimal and magnificent, evoking old vaulted spaces like as wine cellars and storied libraries while remaining contemporary.
ith the intention of making the curving features merge smoothly with the sloping exterior landscapes, architect Toyo Ito finished the streamlined building in 2007.
The first level has an open gallery area for different art exhibits, while the second story contains stacks of over 100,000 volumes, which are housed in separate buildings.
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17). The George Peabody Library in Baltimore, Maryland
In 1857, George Peabody established the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, which he dedicated to the people of the city. From this foundation sprang the George Peabody Library, which was dedicated to the citizens of Baltimore.
The “cathedral of books,” which is now a part of Johns Hopkins University, includes almost 300,000 volumes on subjects ranging from religion to British art to science.
The atrium of the library rises 61 feet into the air, supported by gold scalloped columns and cast-iron balconies, creating a captivating environment for teaching and study.
The George Peabody Library, once known as the Library of the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore, is the nineteenth-century centered research Library of Johns Hopkins University.
It is situated on the Peabody grounds at West Mount Vernon Place in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere noteworthy social neighborhood north of downtown Baltimore, Maryland, opposite the milestone Washington Monument.
The accumulations are accessible for use by the overall population, with regards to the well-known Baltimorean shipper/investor/lender/donor George Peabody’s objective to make a Library “for the free utilization of all people who want to counsel it.
16). Taiwan’s Baotou Public Library is located in the city of Taipei
The Baotou Public Library’s ecological design has made reading a far more environmentally friendly activity.
The sloping roof of the two-story wooden building collects rainwater, which is then stored for use in the structure’s toilet; the big French-style windows let in plenty of natural light, which helps to reduce the facility’s energy usage.
The Baotou Public Library, which has balconies overlooking natural vegetation, gives the impression that you’ve walked into a literary treehouse when you visit.
15). Mexico City’s Bibliotheca Vasconcelos is a cultural landmark
In the Biblioteca Vasconcelos, open, scaffold-like shelves and see-through walls transform a typical day at the library into an aesthetic experience via the use of transparency.
The structure, which stands 820 feet tall and was built by Alberto Kalach, is set inside a lush botanical garden in what was once a desolate section of Mexico City.
The Vasconcelos Institute, which is named after the Mexican novelist José Vasconcelos, also serves as a gallery for artists to exhibit their work, such as Gabriel Orozco’s Ballena, a sculpture constructed from a whale skeleton, which is on display.
14). The Austrian National Library is located in the Austrian capital of Vienna
This Baroque gem, which served as the House of Habsburg’s royal library, is home to approximately 7 million items that date back to the 4th century.
The Austrian National Library was established at its permanent location in the Hof burg Palace in 1735, after the construction of the building by architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and his son Johann Emanuel in the same year.
The State Hall of the library, which spans almost 80 meters in length and has a vivid ceiling fresco by painter Daniel Gran as well as a collection of four Venetian globes, is a piece of art in and of itself.
13). The Morgan Library & Museum in the United States city of New York
The Morgan Library & Museum, which occupies three buildings on Madison Avenue and houses the private collection of banker J.P. Morgan, is the largest museum in the world.
The gold-decorated chamber is lined with bronze and inlaid Circassian walnut bookshelves, with illuminated and original manuscripts of Sir Walter Scott and Balzac occupying the heart of the area.
Hidden behind the shelves are two hidden stairways that lead to the balconies above, which provide breathtaking views of the fresco-covered ceilings designed by H. Siddons Mowbray and painted by the artist.
Drawings by famous painters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Pablo Picasso are on exhibit in the galleries of the New York City landmark.
12). The Bodleian Library in Oxford, United Kingdom
The Bodleian Library at Oxford University is one of the most renowned libraries in Europe, housing the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s First Folio among its 13 million printed materials, making it one of the most important libraries in the world.
The Radcliffe Camera, built by James Gibbs, is one of the most recognized structures in the group and is the world’s first circular library. It is also one of the most important historical buildings in the world.
Due to the use of the neoclassical form in films such as Young Sherlock Holmes and The Golden Compass, the structure has gained widespread appeal in popular culture.
11). The Library of El Escorial is located in the Spanish town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
With more than 40,000 books in its collection, this Spanish library, which is separate from the El Escorial Monastery, serves as a statement of intellectual leadership and Renaissance creativity in Europe.
It was King Philip II of Spain who ordered the building of the complex in 1563, which also contains a monastery, gardens, and pantheons dedicated to previous rulers of the country.
The vaulted library contains a series of seven frescoes, painted by notable artists such as Pellegrino Tibaldi and Federico Zuccaro, depicting the liberal arts: arithmetic, astronomy, dialectic, geometry, grammar, music, and rhetoric.
The liberal arts are represented by the following subjects: arithmetic, astronomy, dialectic, geometry, grammar, music, and rhetoric.
10). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading is located
It is the largest and most valuable collection of Portuguese literature outside of Portugal, with over 400,000 rare manuscripts, one-of-a-kind works, and unique proofs adorning the walls of this Neo-Madeline marvel.
When the cabinet was first established in 1822 by a trio of Portuguese immigrants, the goal was to introduce literary traditions and classics to the newly formed Brazil.
Upon opening its doors in 1887, the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading revealed three floors of works to be found, as well as the dazzling Altar of the Homeland by goldsmith António Maria Ribeiro. The Cabinet of Reading is still open today.
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9). The Admont Abbey Library is located in the Austrian town of Admont
The Admont Abbey Library, which is a part of one of Austria’s oldest and biggest monasteries, displays stunning Baroque-style artisanship and has an astounding 70,000-volume collection.
The hall, designed by architect Joseph Hueber in 1776, is bathed in gold and white colors and has seven cupolas as well as exquisite lime-wood carvings on the walls and ceilings.
The jaw-dropping ceiling artworks by Bartolomeo Altamonte represent various stages of human understanding and are a spin on Joseph Stammel’s sculpture series “Four Last Things,” which is also on display.
8). Alexandria, Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a treasure trove of information
Aiming to revive the spirit and scholarship of the ancient world’s biggest and most complete library, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which opened its doors in 2002, was dedicated to this goal.
Before it was destroyed by fire almost 2,000 years ago, the ancient Library of Alexandria held the world’s greatest collection of books and manuscripts and was widely recognized as the intellectual center of the world.
The new institution, designed by the Norwegian architectural company Snhetta, contains a library room with space for eight million volumes, four museums, four art galleries, a planetarium, and a manuscript-restoration laboratory.
The grey Aswan granite walls are covered with etchings in 120 various scripts, which serve as a memorial to the development of human language.
7). Stuttgart City Library is a public library in Stuttgart, Germany
Throughout the Stuttgart City Library, the dazzling white surfaces and clean lines create a dreamlike and relaxing environment.
German-based Yi Architects drew inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome when building the nine-story library, which has an open multi-floor reading area in the form of an upside-down pyramid.
The hundreds of books that line the shelves of the cube building are the sole source of color inside the structure.
6). Czech Republic’s Klementinum National Library is located in the city of Prague
It’s no surprise that the Klementinum is referred to as “the Baroque jewel of Prague” because of its elaborate ceiling paintings by Jan Hiebl and opulent gold-and-mahogany spiral pillars that span the roof.
The library, which was originally built as a part of a Jesuit institution and is today known as the National Library of the Czech Republic, has more than 20,000 volumes of international theological literature.
It was founded in 1722. A picture of Emperor Joseph II hangs at the entrance to the hall to honor his efforts in saving books from monastery libraries that were closed down. Many of these volumes are still on display in the hall today.
5). Seoul’s Starfield Library is located in South Korea
The Starfield Library, which is housed inside the world’s biggest subterranean retail mall, has over 50,000 books and periodicals from a variety of different genres.
The lights from the two-story athenaeum make the area shine throughout the day, inviting guests to rest on the soft couches and enjoy the atmosphere.
Throughout the month, the library offers a variety of activities ranging from author talks to art exhibits.
4). The Abbey Library of St. Gall is located in the Swiss town of St. Gallen
Early architectural drawings depicting a library connected to the main church of the Abbey of Saint Gall indicate that the collection dates back to about 820 CE. The collection is housed in the Abbey of Saint Gall.
Because of the abbey’s growing collection of science-related books and manuscripts, the collection was relocated to its richly adorned Baroque-style Hall, which was designed by Peter Thumb in the mid-18th century.
There are over 160,00 books on the elaborately carved wood shelves, all of which are open to the public for browsing and reading.
The Abbey of Saint Gall in St. Gallen, Switzerland a standout amongst the hugest religious libraries in the world world. Over the passage entryway, you can see recorded in Greek which interprets “pharmacist of the spirit”.
The Library keeps 2,100 original copies dating down to the eighth through the fifteenth hundreds of years, 1,650 incunabula (printed before 1500), and old printed books. These original copies are set inside the glass cases. Irish, Carolingian, and Ottonian are among the best of these original copies.
The Library holds right around 160,000 volumes, and most are accessible for open use. To know your enthusiasm for what you need to peruse there is a piece of information at the highest point of the rack where you can see angels giving signs for your advantage.
Like for instance, the space science-related books can be seen beneath the angel who uses a telescope to watch the cosmology-related books. Books distributed before 1900 are to be perused in an uncommon perusing room.
3). The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library is a landmark structure
A pair of marble lions stand guard at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, keeping an eye on visitors as they enter and exit the research library, which is located on the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Founders of the New York Public Library were inspired to construct a large institution to compete with Paris and London after the merger of the Astor and Lenox Libraries in 1895.
The Beaux-Arts masterpiece was completed in 1905. It is believed that there are 15 million things in the historic structure, which was designed by Carrère and Hastings. These artifacts range from medieval manuscripts and ancient Japanese scrolls to modern novels and comic books.
2). Beijing, China is home to the National Library of China
The National Library of China, which was established in 1909 by the government of the Qing dynasty, has accumulated an enormous collection of over 37 million volumes, including the greatest collection of Chinese literature in the world.
Students, scholars, and book enthusiasts from all over the nation poured into the three distinct buildings that make up the library.
The North Area, the newest addition, is divided into two levels: the bottom level, which contains the geometric reading room and reference library, which represents the past, and the top-level, which contains the digital library, which represents the future and developing technology.
1). The Bibliotheca do Convento de Marfa is located in the town of Marfa, Portugal
Located on the grounds of the Palace of Mafra, this Rococo magnificence was designed by royal court architect Manuel Caetano de Sousa in 1771 and is now utilized as a museum.
Through the many windows along the hall, natural light streams in and causes the marble floor in shades of rose, grey, and white to shine continuously throughout the day.
The royal commission received authorization from the Pope in 1745 to store “forbidden books,” which are still on display as part of the collection’s 35,000 leather-bound volumes.
These libraries are not only homes to books, but also reflections of the past and a guide for the future. Whether you’re in Taipei or Vienna, these buildings offer insight into both their city’s character and history while also fostering community ties with their modern design that makes them inviting spaces. What is your favorite library?