Inside the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

I must say I do love to get my nose into a good book after a hard day’s trekking, but I’ve never really explored libraries per se.  So from heavy Baroque gilding and Gothic oak to ice-white concrete and digital modernism, here are some absolutely incredible pictures to get your literary taste buds going.


Circular wonder: The Library of Congress in Washington DC was founded in 1800 and contains more than 160 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves

The Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart in Germany was built in 1965, with its bare decoration drawing attention to its books

Stunning surroundings: The largest monastery library of the world is Admont Benedictine Monastery in Austria which comprises some 200,000 volumes in its beautiful halls

From a glance the Tama Art University Library’s concrete arches resemble those of a Roman aqueduct, but up close provide an interesting place to settle down with a book

Page turner: The impressive Clementinum library in Czech Republic is magnificently decorated with ornate gilded carvings and a ceiling fresco depicting the Temple of Wisdom

The 213ft-long main chamber of the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin was built between 1712 and 1732. By the 1850s the Library had been given permission to obtain a free copy of every book that had been published in Ireland and Britain

The 213ft-long main chamber of the Long Room at Trinity College Library in Dublin was built between 1712 and 1732. By the 1850s the Library had been given permission to obtain a free copy of every book that had been published in Ireland and Britain

The Austrian National Library is a Unesco-protected site and it is easy to see why, with its captivating gold painted marble pillars

The Austrian National Library is a Unesco-protected site and it is easy to see why, with its captivating gold painted marble pillars

Mexico City's recently reopened Biblioteca Vasconcelos is an outstanding example of a contemporary digital-age library

Mexico City’s recently reopened Biblioteca Vasconcelos is an outstanding example of a contemporary digital-age library

The six-floor Baltimore George Peabody Library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world featuring 300,000 volumes largely from the 18th and 19th centuries

The six-floor Baltimore George Peabody Library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world featuring 300,000 volumes largely from the 18th and 19th centuries

Taking the prize for one of the fanciest libraries around is Wiblingen Abbey's halls. This 18th century monastery is built in rococo style featuring gold accents and statutes 

Taking the prize for one of the fanciest libraries around is Wiblingen Abbey’s halls. This 18th century monastery is built in rococo style featuring gold accents and statutes

It is easy to see why stunning New York Public Library took 12 years to build, with high ceilings and gilded decoration. Pictured is The Rose Main Reading Room

It is easy to see why stunning New York Public Library took 12 years to build, with high ceilings and gilded decoration. Pictured is The Rose Main Reading Room

Plenty to explore: The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is located in the University of Toronto, featuring the largest collection of publicly accessible rare books and manuscripts in Canada

Plenty to explore: The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is located in the University of Toronto, featuring the largest collection of publicly accessible rare books and manuscripts in Canada

The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) is the Baroque library of the University of Coimbra in Portugal with the walls covered by two-storied shelves, in gilded or painted exotic woods

The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) is the Baroque library of the University of Coimbra in Portugal with the walls covered by two-storied shelves, in gilded or painted exotic woods

The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) is the Baroque library of the University of Coimbra in Portugal with the walls covered by two-storied shelves, in gilded or painted exotic woods

The Joanina Library (Biblioteca Joanina) is the Baroque library of the University of Coimbra in Portugal with the walls covered by two-storied shelves, in gilded or painted exotic woods

Built between 1712 and 1732, the Long Room at Trinity College's Old Library holds the collection's 200,000 oldest books

Built between 1712 and 1732, the Long Room at Trinity College’s Old Library holds the collection’s 200,000 oldest books

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library contains the principal rare books and literary manuscripts of Yale University, housed within a striking glass network of shelves

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library contains the principal rare books and literary manuscripts of Yale University, housed within a striking glass network of shelves

The Theological Hall inside Strahov Library in Prague is breathtaking to behold

The Theological Hall inside Strahov Library in Prague is breathtaking to behold

The Hogwarts-esque Reading Room in the Suzzallo Library at University of Washington consists of rows of brass-lamped, oak study tables, beneath a 65ft-high ceiling

The Hogwarts-esque Reading Room in the Suzzallo Library at University of Washington consists of rows of brass-lamped, oak study tables, beneath a 65ft-high ceiling

The University of Salamanca in Spain holds around 906,000 volumes to read from wooden chairs that compliment the surroundings 

The University of Salamanca in Spain holds around 906,000 volumes to read from wooden chairs that compliment the surroundings

Located in Manchester, John Rylands Library is a striking gothic library, which opened on 1 January 1900. Pictured is the Reading Room which features stained-glass windows

Located in Manchester, John Rylands Library is a striking gothic library, which opened on 1 January 1900. Pictured is the Reading Room which features stained-glass windows

The Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve is a French national library in Paris built by architect Henri Labrouste in 1851, featuring a sea of lamps, wrought-iron railings and arched ceilings

The Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve is a French national library in Paris built by architect Henri Labrouste in 1851, featuring a sea of lamps, wrought-iron railings and arched ceilings

The 85ft-long Library of Convent in National Palace of Mafra houses around 36,000 volumes amassed through royal commission

The 85ft-long Library of Convent in National Palace of Mafra houses around 36,000 volumes amassed through royal commission

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The Mortlock Wing of South Australia’s State Library in Adelaide, Travel & Leisure’s 2014 winner of Most Beautiful Library in the World

 

For even more gorgeous book repositories check out Travel & Leisure’s original feature.

NedHappy reading!

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