Libraries are magical places – old books, an atmosphere of knowledge and beautiful designs make them one of the most fascinating places in the world. Each city has at least one library, but among them, there are real pearls that make a visit worthwhile. With the utmost care, we have selected 10 of the best libraries in the world. Look inside, but: please be quiet while reading.
1. George Peabody Library – Baltimore, USA
The George Peabody Library in Baltimore is an absolute eye-catcher! This neoclassical “Cathedral of Books” was completed in 1878 and is home to a collection of over 300,000 volumes dedicated to British and American literature, art and history.
Something is just hopelessly romantic about this library. Its atrium is adorned with five floors, black and white marble floors, artfully crafted cast iron balconies and golden pillars. It’s no wonder that weddings and other private events are often held here!
2. Chinese National Library – Beijing, China
With a library of over 31 million volumes, which is the National Library of China in Beijing, the largest library in Asia. However, it is not just the numerous works that impress here – inside, for example, there is a 4-floor reading room that is regularly peppered with tech-savvy students preparing for their exams.
So many ingenious minds in one bunch … but the strictly enforced “please rest” rule ensures that the only audible sounds here are the soft touches on the laptop keyboards.
3. Trinity College Library – Dublin, Ireland
Enter the long hall of Dublin’s 300-year-old Trinity College Library, and you’ll feel like you’ve landed on a Star Wars set.
The 65-meter hall is suspiciously similar to the archives the Jedi Temple used in 2002 in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” including the bald, vaulted ceilings and marble busts of former padawans – now Jedi masters – like for example, that of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels.
The Trinity Library is even more magical in that it is home to many of the most significant works, such as the “Book of Kells” – an illustrated manuscript of the first four Gospels of the Old Testament, dating back to the year 800.
4. The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading – Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien
In 1837, Portuguese immigrants decided to open a Portuguese library in Rio de Janeiro. Fifty years later, with the founding of the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura, their idea became a reality and opened its doors to the public.
Equipped with perhaps the largest and most valuable collection of Portuguese literature outside the home, students come from all over to take a seat in the cathedral-style reading room and browse under a glass dome that creates the perfect light for reading.
In Brazil, the reading room is now considered a prominent landmark, always displaying its origins – with a limestone façade specially brought from Lisbon.
5. City Library Stuttgart – Stuttgart, Germany
Did you get lost in Stuttgart? You will not have a problem with this: finding the city library! Towering 9-storey into the sky, the building shines gracefully by day, while in the night it glows in the cool blue light.
In contrast to the cobalt blue facade, the interior of the library is kept in immaculate white. Surprisingly, it does not feel sterile anyway. The library’s numerous bookshelves and visitors bring color and life into this state-of-the-art literary emporium.
6. New York Public Library – New York, USA
New York’s public library system – the fourth largest in the world – is so extensive that it takes your mind off the 93 city-wide stores in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.
Most impressive of all, however, is the main store on 5th Avenue, which is equally famed for its selection of books and numerous guest appearances in popular culture, such as Ghostbusters, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Day After Tomorrow and an episode of Seinfeld.
Join the crowd as they quietly indulge in their reading diet in the vaulted Rose Main reading room under the lavish chandeliers, ornate ceiling and huge windows. But beware, it is such a beautiful environment and not so easy to concentrate on his Eksamenslektüre.
7. Sainte Geneviève Library – Paris, Frankreich
When the Paris Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève was completed in 1850, thanks to its modern architecture, it soon became one of the most beautiful cultural buildings in the world.
More than 150 years later, it no longer impresses with its modernist style, but all the more because of its timeless beauty and elegance.
8. Seattle Public Library – Seattle, USA
The headquarters of Seattle City Library is, cautiously, an eye-catcher. Gone are the days of dusty bookshelves and bland interiors; in its place, there is now something that comes along as sent directly from the future.
Designed by leading Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the futuristic structure of glass and steel unites a transverse grid paneling and a collection of unusual cubist angles.
Opened in 2004, the citywide attraction was declared a National Cultural Heritage 3 years later when it was ranked 108th by the American Institute of Architects on the list of the ” 150 Best American Architecture Pieces “.
9. Czech National Library – Prague, Czech Republic
The Baroque National Library of the Czech Republic in Prague opened its doors in 1722 and houses more than 20,000 volumes of theological and medical literature.
However, one does not necessarily have to be a connoisseur of the existing literature in order to experience enlightenment. A look at the art and science of the ceiling fresco and the collection of golden globes is enough. Jesuits built the library in the late 18th century as part of the vast Clementinum complex near the famous Charles Bridge.
10. Royal Library – Copenhagen, Denmark
Give your idea of overcrowded libraries at your doorstep, because Denmark’s waterfront Royal Library is a great place to recharge your batteries with some of the coolness of Copenhagen.
Known throughout the city as the “Black Diamond,” owing to its dark shimmering marble façade and the curved corners, one can stroll here like a time traveler from the ultra-modern extension through a sun-drenched atrium into the old library.
In the summer, the diamond is surrounded by frolicking couples who picnic on the banks of the canal as well as students who absorb the sun’s rays with a book in their hands.
In addition to the usual library services, the Schwarze Diamant also has a Michelin-certified restaurant, a café, a concert hall and three exhibition rooms, including a collection on the history of Danish cartoons and the National Photography Museum.