Reading and relaxing in a cosy and well-equipped library is one of the best things life offers. In these 10 beautiful European libraries, the experience will be extra marvellous.
1. Trinity College Library: Dublin, Ireland
With its dark wood paneling and high arched ceiling, this stunning scholarly library is also known to be the largest in Ireland. It is also known as a “copyright library,” which gives it rights to acquire material published in the country without any cost. This library is also home to the Book of Kells, a beautifully illustrated manuscript containing the four gospels in Latin believed to have been created in 800 AD.
2. Bibliotheue Nationale de France: Paris, France
The National Library of France has expanded its collection within the last few decades, since it was established in 1461. The older building that was completed in 1868 on the Rue de Richelieu is still in use and not to be missed. Once the largest library in the world, this title remains no longer. Nonetheless, it is still impressive with collections like 5,000 Greek manuscripts and an impressive staff of 2,700.
3. Clementinum National Library: Prague, Czech Republic
Named after Saint Clement, the grounds that holds this library has gone through many guises, beginning as a chapel and becoming a Jesuit college. The National Library was founded in 1781 and is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, especially the Baroque library hall, known for its intreciate ceiling work by Jan Hiebl. It’s spacious courtyards and ivy-covered walls are perfect places to get lost in a book for an hour or two.
4. Wiblingen Monastery: Ulm-Wiblingen, Germany
The library in this former Benedictine abbey is one of the main reasons to see this monastery. Constructed in the whimsical Rococo fashion, it’s interior is adorned with various statues, red and green columns and intricate ceiling fresco that represent the architect’s vision of this library being a place to treasure the gifts of wisdom and science. Located on the north wing of the property, the library is part of a stunning example of Baroque architecture that is on display throughout the monastery.
5. Admont Abbey Library: Admont, Austria
Known for its breathtaking Baroque design, this abbey is the oldest monastic library in the world. Set at the base of the Gesause National Park, with snow-capped mountains as a beautiful backdrop and the Enns river in the foreground, this library is set in a surreal landscape. The interior is just as stunning as its exterior, where dreamy murals exist in high-celling rooms.
6. Bristol Central Library: Bristol, England
A blend of Tutor Revival and Modern Movement, makes this library unique and aesthetically appealing for all who visit. The interior is mostly Neoclassical, with generous use of the round-arched vaulting on the ceilings. Interestingly enough, it was built on a slope, causing it to have three stories in the front of the building, but five stories in the back.
7. The Library of El Escorial: San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
Started by King Phillip II, this royal library is situated on the beautiful grounds of El Escorial, the past residences for all of Spain’s kings. The dark wooden shelves and the intricate frescoes painted on the ceiling make this library fit for any king. It is now a World Herritage Site, but it still has some of the original books.
8. Mafra Palace Library: Mafra, Portugal
Located within the Mafra Palace, this library houses rare books and is only open by appointment. One of its memorable features is at your feet, with the magnificant titled floor made out of grey, rose and white marble. The beautiful white Rococo architecture makes it a highly-cherished national landmark.
9. Sainte-Genevieve Library: Paris, France
Situated in one of the oldest abbeys in Paris, this library is a stunning masterpiece with its iron-wrought ceilings and sea of green lamps. The stunning design was the inspiration for Boston’s Public Library centuries later.
10. The Codrington Library: Oxford, London
An academic library of All Souls College, its dark green shelves and marble statues make for a perfect place for scholars to study. Its modern collection comprises of 185,000 books, a third which were published before the 1800’s.
Featured photo credit: Flicker via flickr.com