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Published on October 24th, 2017 | by Magda Michalska

5 Most Beautiful Libraries You Should Know

Shout-out to all students! With the exams approaching, sometimes I find myself spending more time in the library than at home… Or do you know this feeling of outrage when you have your favorite seat and somebody dares to sit on it..? Brrrr. Well, anyway, today I want to show you most beautiful libraries in the world. I wouldn’t totally mind studying in places like these…

Glasgow School of Art

CHarles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow School of Art. Source: Glasgow School of Art, most beautiful libraries

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow School of Art. Source: Glasgow School of Art

Sad story to begin with… This library was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a front architect of the Glasgow School, a style which had a lot in common with Symbolism and Secession in continental Europe (read about his wife here). Sadly, this masterpiece was damaged by a freak fire in May 2014. But the restoration process has begun, so let’s keep fingers crossed!

Library of Alexandria

O. Von Corven, The Great Library of Alexandria, 19th century, Source:Tolzmann, Don Heinrich, Alfred Hessel and Reuben Peiss. The Memory of Mankind. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2001, most beautiful libraries

O. Von Corven, The Great Library of Alexandria, 19th century, Source: Tolzmann, Don Heinrich, Alfred Hessel and Reuben Peiss. The Memory of Mankind. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2001

Cool libraries seem to be cursed… Why are books so vulnerable when it comes to fire? Ech, same fate doomed the library of Alexandria, Egypt, the best and biggest library of the ancient world, which housed 40,000 to 400,000 scrolls and papyruses! It is believed to have survived several fires, yet we don’t know exactly who and when damaged it for good. However, its destruction has become a universal symbol of loss of public knowledge.

Trinity College Library

The Long Room, Trinity College Library, Dublin. Source: Wikimedia, most beautiful libraries

The Long Room, Trinity College Library, Dublin. Source: Wikimedia

The Jedi archives of the Jedi Temple in the movie Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones look quite like the Long Room of this stunning library in Dublin. It hosts Ireland’s national treasure, the Book of Kells, which is a beautifully illuminated Gospel produced at a Columban monastery around 800 AD. The library itself came into being in 1592, as the university was founded. It’s the biggest library in Ireland.

Bodleian Library

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, UK. Source: Goodreads, most beautiful libraries

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, UK. Source: Goodreads

When talking about movies, we should mention this one, as its reading room served as the stand-in for the Hogwarts library in Harry Potter! Yet not only Harry studied there, but also J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, or Oscar Wilde. And it’s Oxford, so except  five kings, 40 Nobel Prize winners, and 26 prime ministers who have all studied there, we can expect more to come!

El Escorial Library

most beautiful libraries

El Escorial Library, Madrid, Spain. Source: Wikimedia

El Escorial was the historical residence of the king of Spain, and it was Phillip II (reigned 1556–1598) who added the library, which now is a World Heritage Site, and donated to it his own collection. The frescoes on the vaulted ceilings represent the seven liberal arts: rhetoric, dialectic, music, grammar, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy.

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About the Author

Magda, an art historian-to-be, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Wei Wei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.



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