7 Of The World's Most Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Libraries You Must See to Believe

7 Of The World's Most Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Libraries You Must See to Believe

With their breathtaking architecture, intricate interiors, and awe-inspiring design, these libraries offer a feast for the eyes and the camera

Manasi Y MastakarUpdated: Friday, May 17, 2024, 09:49 AM IST
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George Peabody Library – Baltimore, United States | Pic: Wikipedia

Raza Library – Rampur, India

Pic: indiaculture.gov.in

Nawab Faizullah Khan founded this stunning library in 1774 and is a home to Indo-Islamic literature and arts, along with a host of works related to different religions and cultures. The library building combines elements of traditional Mughal design with British architectural influences. The Raza Library has an extensive collection of over 60,000 printed books and 17,000 rare manuscripts in various languages like Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu, Pashto, Turkish, Hindi and other Indian languages. These manuscripts cover a wide range of subjects such as literature, science, medicine, and theology. 

Library of Strahov Monastery – Prague, Czech Republic0

Pic: Library website

The Strahov Monastery, officially known as the Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov, was founded in 1143. The oldest part of the library, the Baroque Theological Hall, was built in 1679, making it one of the oldest libraries in the Czech Republic. The hall's ceiling is adorned with beautiful frescoes by Siard Nosecký, making it a sight to behold. The library has over 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 incunabula (books printed before 1501), and over 2,00,000 printed volumes of rare books. The library has a ‘cabinets of curiosities’ (Wunderkammern), which houses an array of artifacts, natural specimens, and centuries-old trinkets collected by monks.

Admont Monastery Library – Admont, Austria

Pic: Library Website

Stunning ceiling frescoes painted by Bartolomeo Altomonte, elaborate ornamentation, interiors done in white and gold lend the fairy tale-like feel. Built in 1776, you can find ancient manuscripts and rare incunabula on a wide range of subjects like theology, philosophy, history, and literature. The library also features a notable natural history collection, which includes specimens of plants, animals, minerals, and fossils. Visitors can explore the library's halls, admire its treasures, and learn about its history through guided tours and exhibitions.

George Peabody Library – Baltimore, United States

The George Peabody Library is renowned for its architectural beauty and is often referred to as a ‘cathedral of books’. The George Peabody Library was established in 1857 as part of the Peabody Institute, a cultural center founded by philanthropist George Peabody. Today, the library is a part of the Johns Hopkins University campus. The Library houses over 3,00,000 volumes, primarily from the 19th century. The most striking feature of the library is its  61 feet high five-tiered atrium, with cast-iron balconies, ornate railings, and gold leaf embellishments.

Stuttgart City Library – Stuttgart, Germany

Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Pic: Wikimedia Commons |

This five-storey library with a cube-like exterior and plain white interior is hailed as an architectural marvel. The library's design is inspired by the Pantheon in Rome and the concept of a ‘cube of light’. The facade is made of glass bricks. Compared to the other libraries on this list, Stuttgart City Library is a newer construction. The library offers architectural tours that provide insights into the design and construction of the building. It has over 5,00,000 books, e-books, audiobooks, and access to digital magazines and newspapers.

Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch – Taipei, Taiwan

Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Pic: Wikimedia Commons |

This is Taiwan’s first eco-friendly library surrounded by a natural environment. Officially opened to the public in November 2006, the library was developed as part of Taipei's initiative to create more environmentally sustainable public buildings. The library is constructed primarily from wood and other natural materials, which help it blend seamlessly into its lush, green surroundings. The roof has solar panels, which generate a portion of the building's electricity and a rainwater harvesting system for use in toilets and irrigation. The library has diverse collection of books and media in multiple languages along with a dedicated area for children.

Abbey Library of Saint Gall – St. Gallen, Switzerland

Pic: Instagram/Stiftsbezirk St. Gallen

This one of the oldest and most significant monastic libraries in the world. It is renowned for its rich history, stunning Baroque architecture, and extensive collection of medieval manuscripts. The library was founded by Saint Othmar in the 8th century, around 719 AD. In 1983, the Abbey Library of Saint Gall, along with the surrounding Abbey precinct, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its historical and cultural significance. The current library hall, designed by architect Peter Thumb, was constructed between 1758 and 1767. The library houses 1,60,000 volumes, including 2,100 medieval manuscripts collected over 12 centuries.

--Compiled by Manasi Y Mastakar

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