If you happen to consider yourself a bookworm, you probably have a favorite library that caters to your studying, reading, and productive needs. If you love reading, exploring, and learning all at the same time, then you might find yourself fascinated by larger, more spacious libraries across the world!
The libraries below are some of the most gorgeous, unique, and carefully crafted feats of architecture in the world. Located all around the globe, these buildings are built to serve those with a thirst for knowledge and an appreciation for fine craftsmanship. Getting lost in the library is definitely recommended, in these cases!
Keep scrolling to explore our list of some of the most visually appealing libraries on the planet.
10 Library Of Congress: Washington D.C., USA
If you’ve traveled to Washington D.C. then you’ve no doubt come upon the beautiful Library of Congress! The biggest library in the world, it is home to a plethora of books, recorded media, and manuscripts.
Though the library was established in 1800 by President John Adams, a separate building to house media was not completed until 1897. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration in the mid-20th century, the library would see expansion of materials, offices, and publications. In 2018, the library was home to around 164 million items and counting!
9 Beyazit Library: Istanbul, Turkey
The Beyazit Library in Turkey’s capital of Istanbul occupies what used to house a soup kitchen and roadside inn inside the Beyazit Mosque. The library was recently upgraded in 2016 to receive some light restoration and modern expansion on the outside.
The building itself was constructed in 1506, and has been used as a library since 1884. Beyazit contains many rare and important Turkish literature, including that of the Ottoman Empire, on its ground floor, while Turkish periodicals and publications are on the first and second floors respectively.
8 Stuttgart City Library: Stuttgart, Germany
Stuttgart City Library is one of the more modern buildings on the list, constructed in 2011 after its design was chosen in a competition in 1999. The library is not only beautiful– it also has a vast amount of items in its catalog that definitely makes it worth the trip. Its website states that the central library on Milan Square has around 1 million pieces of media!
The redesign project cost around 79 million Euros, or around $90 million. The cube-shaped building is characterized by minimalist design, staircases, and multi-floored layout.
7 Austrian National Library: Vienna, Austria
Originally known as the Imperial Court Library until around 1920, the Austrian National Library is the largest library in the country. Home to around 12 million materials, the library also contains four museums and numerous special collections.
The library is committed to archiving every Austrian publication it can, and in doing so, has divided up its special collections into categories. If you happen to travel to the library, you’ll find a treasure-trove of rare books, collections of maps, music, and even a collection of papyrus dating back to the 15th and 16th century BCE!
6 Musashino Art University Museum And Library: Tokyo, Japan
The Musashino Art University Museum and Library in Tokyo is unique for its design-work and concept. The library consists of single, winding shelf that contains the books and materials, stretching about the library until it ends in the middle.
Unlike other libraries on the list, however, the shelves at Musashino are made of light wood, affording the space a clean and simple aesthetic. Designer Sou Fujimoto calls his creation “a forest of books,” as the shelves are around 30 feet high with small openings so that patrons can peer back and see through the “forest!”
5 The National Library Of The Czech Republic: Prague, Czech Republic
The National Library is the Czech Republic’s main library, and contains around 6 million documents and 60,000 registered readers. The main building was established inside of the Clementium, which is a historical focal point that used to have the Technical and University libraries as well.
UNESCO awarded this lovely library with the first Jinkji Prize for its work in digitizing older texts. Around 1,700 documents were made available electronically in the first 13 years of the project, which began in 1992.
4 Royal Site Of San Lorenzo De El Escorial Library: S. Lorenzo De El Escorial, Spain
Home to the King of Spain, the Royal Site is a large building that serves many functions, including that of a hospital, university, school, pantheon, and more. There are 3 libraries in El Escorial, but the one pictured is the Royal Library, which currently contains around 40,000 items.
The Royal Library contains shining marble floors, carved wood shelves, and sits around 177 feet in length. The ceiling contains marvelous fresco murals devoted to the seven Liberal Arts: Rhetoric, Music, Grammar, Arithmetic, Geometry, Logic, and Astronomy.
3 New York Public Library: New York
The second largest public library in the United States, the New York Public Library’s main branch is located in Bryant Park, Manhattan, and serves around 3.5 million people. The library is not only stunning in appearance–it contains around 53 million items and is the third largest library in the world in terms of volume of content!
The NYPL is famous for its iconic lion statues, dubbed Patience and Fortitude, that guard its entrance. It employs nearly 3,200 people and is one of New York’s Historic Landmarks, recognized as such in 1967.
2 Vasconcelos Library: Mexico City, Mexico
Spanning around 409,000 square feet, the Vasconcelos Library was finished in 2006, and was dedicated to José Vasconcelos, former president of the National Library of Mexico. The project cost around 954 million pesos, or $98 million.
Though the library closed for around 22 months due to construction defects, it opened to the public again 2008 and was further renovated during President Felipe Calderón’s administration to the tune of $3 million.
1 Library Of Altenburg Abbey: Altenberg, Austria
Located in the Altenberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery, the Library at Altenberg Abbey was constructed around 1740 and incorporates many hallmarks of the Baroque architecture style. The library is around three stories high, 157 feet in length, and borders the outer interior of the monastery.
The ceilings are adorned with frescoes painted by the famous late Baroque artist Paul Troger in the early 1730s. There is also a crypt that lies underneath the library, which is home to frescoes by unknown artists!
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