The 10 Most Beautiful Libraries to Visit in Europe
There is something magnetic about libraries – those silent temples of knowledge where one can lose track of time, study, meditate or just relax in a quiet environment. On top of that, some of the buildings are architectural jewels in themselves and deserve a place in your sightseeing agenda. To help you with your next trip, FlixBus presents The 10 Most Beautiful Libraries to Visit in Europe.
Philological Library, Freie Universität – Berlin, Germany
An architectural landmark, the Philological library is located on the campus of the Free University of Berlin. The construction of the library began in 2001 and was completed in 2005. The library is at its most beautiful by night, when interior lighting glows through its transparent facade to create a checkerboard effect. The building design was ideated by the world-famous global firm Foster + Partners.
Black Diamond, Royal Danish Library – Copenhagen, Denmark
The Black Diamond is the unofficial name of the modern waterfront extension of the Royal Danish Library's old building and is a reference to its polished black granite outer walls and irregular angles. Two museums are based in the Black Diamond, the National Museum of Photography and a small museum dedicated to cartoon art.
Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève – Paris, France
The Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève is easily one of the most visually impressive buildings in Paris. The original abbey of the library was founded in the 6th century, and the facade is engraved with the names of individuals who made contributions to the body of human knowledge like Copernicus and Shakespeare. On weekday afternoons, people will line up down the street beneath the names of 810 celebrated scholars engraved on the wall, waiting to get a seat in the immense reading room.
El Escorial Library – Madrid, Spain
The stunning Escorial Library has a great hall that’s fifty-four meters in length, nine meters wide and ten meters tall with marble floors and carved wooden shelves which houses a collection of personal documents donated by Philip II of Spain. It is now a World Heritage Site, and it still has some of the original books of that time.
Austrian National Library – Vienna, Austria
The Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, was once the residence of emperors and kings. Today, in addition of being the official home of the country's president, it has an amazing collection of 7.4 million items of the Austrian National Library. One of the library’s most-stunning features is the huge fresco on the ceiling, which was created by painter Daniel Gran.
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana – Rome, Italy
The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana – Vatican Apostolic Library – is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. Although it is much older, the library was formally stablished in 1475 making it one of the oldest libraries in the world containing one of the most significant collections of historical texts.
Strahovská Knihovna – Prague, Czech Republic
The library of the Premonstratensian monastery at Strahov is one of the most valuable and best-preserved historical libraries with a collection of approximately 200,000 volumes. The oldest part of the library, the Baroque Theological Hall, was established between 1671 and 1674; the main Classicist vaults of the Philosophical Hall date from 1794. Both halls contain amazing ceiling frescoes by Siard Nosecký and Anton Maulbertsch.
Biblioteca Joanina – Coimbra University Library in Coimbra, Portugal
The beautiful Baroque Joanina Library, which is part of the University of Coimbra General Library in Coimbra, Portugal, was completed in 1728. Its three rooms – which contain 70,000 older volumes – are divided by elaborate archways. The building is a National Monument and has a priceless historical value being one of the main tourist attractions among the older monuments belonging to the university.
Biblioteca Marciana – Venice, Italy
The Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana dates from 1537 and is amongst the oldest libraries in Italy and holds one of the largest classical text collections in the world. Besides about a million printed books, the library contains 13,000 manuscripts, 2,883 incunabula and 24,055 works printed between 1500 and 1600.
Abbey Library of St. Gall – St. Gall, Switzerland
The Abbey Library of Saint Gall (German: Stiftsbibliothek) is a significant medieval monastic library located in St. Gall, Switzerland. In 1983, the library, together with the Abbey of St. Gall, was designated a World Heritage Site being a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery.