Literature lovers unite at these five lavish libraries

Literature lovers unite at these five lavish libraries

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

For the bookworms out there who watched Disney’s “Beauty and the Beastgrowing up and didn’t dream of finding true love, but rather a library that was large enough to need rolling ladders, this article is for you! Europe is filled with some fantastic architecture, of that there is no doubt. Combine your love of books with some outstanding structures and you’ll find a whole new appreciation for that old book smell. Here are five libraries scattered throughout Europe that are sure to knock your socks off!

Admont Abbey Library

Located on the banks of the Enns River in Admont, Austria sits a Benedictine monastery that is home to the largest monastic library in the world. Completed in 1776 by architect Joseph Hueber, this library holds an extensive 70,000 volumes and reflects the ideals of Enlightenment. The ceiling is made up of seven cupolas with frescoes depicting the states of human knowledge while 48 windows shed light onto this white and gold masterpiece. Josef Stammel, the Abbey’s sculptor, created a group of lime wood carvings for the library called “Four Last Things,” consisting of figures representing Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. The Baroque design of the library houses a repository of knowledge; together with the frescoes and sculptures, it is a true testament to the beauty of human design.

Tickets to view this magnificent piece of history are 11 euros for adults and 6 euros for children ages 6 - 15 and include a 40-minute guided tour. Reservations are required.

Old Library, Trinity College

Nestled in the heart of Dublin City on the cobblestones of Trinity College sits the Old Library, a magical place that will transport you back in time to the 18th century. The main chamber hosts the Long Room, filled with 200,000 books on impressive oak shelves. With it’s barrel-vaulted ceiling and marble busts lining the room, it’s certainly a sight to behold. The busts are from philosophers and writers of the western world and men connected with the college. The library is also home to The Book of Kells Exhibition. The Book of Kells is a 9th century gospel manuscript in Latin that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is believed to have been created around 800 AD and is considered to be one of Ireland’s greatest national treasures.

The exhibition for The Book of Kells is open seven days a week. Tickets are available online or at the entrance to Trinity College Dublin and range from 11 - 14 euros for adults. Children under 12 are free.

Austrian National Library

With an impressive 65-foot-high ceiling, The State Hall in the Austrian National Library is an 18th century Baroque wonder. The ceiling is crowned with an intricately decorated dome and numerous frescoes that lord over the 200,000 plus tomes. There are also four eye-catching Venetian globes that grace the heart of the library, surrounding a massive statue of Charles VI. Commissioned by Emperor Charles VI, this structure was once part of his Court Library in Vienna. The library complex is also home to four museums. Don’t miss out on seeing this impressive structure for yourself.

Tickets to see the State Hall are available for 8 euros online or at one of four service desks located at the State Hall entrance, Library at Heldenplatz, Palais Mollard and the Literature Museum.

Biblioteca Marciana

The National Library of St. Mark’s is a massive Renaissance structure in Venice, Italy and home to one of the largest classical text collections in the world. With around one million books, 13,000 manuscripts and almost 3,000 incunables, this library packs quite the punch. It all began in 1537, when Jacopo Sansovino created an epic harmony of Venetian style with Renaissance architecture to become a beautiful home for the Greek and Latin manuscripts that would grace its shelves. With frescoes and paintings galore, this library is nothing short of spectacular.

Tickets are available online for 20.40 euros for entrance into Doge's Palace, Correr Museum, Archaeological Museum and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. Children ages 6 and under are free.

Baroque Library

Considered one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the Baroque Library in Prague, Czech Republic opened in 1722 as part of the Jesuit university in Klementinum and still dazzles its visitors today. Jan Hiebl, creator of the interior ceiling frescoes, painted scenes depicting allegorical motifs of education. He also painted portraits of Jesuit saints, patrons of the university and representatives of the order. Over 20,000 volumes rest here, along with a collection of astronomical globes and clocks. This monstrous library is nothing short of astounding.

The library is open to the public Monday - Wednesday and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Closed Thursday. Admission is 11.70 euros (300 czk). Children ages 6 and under are free.

Will it be Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic or Ireland that you visit first on your quest to find Europe’s most beautiful library? With each more lavish than the last, it’ll be hard to choose just one. Better start planning now so that you’ll have ample time to see them all. Happy travels! 

Subscribe to our Stripes Europe newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, helpful PCS tips, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Europe
Pinterest: Stars and Stripes Europe
Instagram: @StarsandStripeseurope

Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web