Top 10 Libraries and Bookstores

Top 10 Libraries and Bookstores

All around the world libraries play a significant role in cultural life. However, some of them are striking architectural wonders, as if proving how powerful knowledge is when applied in life. See these ten amazing halls and buildings, that house the most important books in the world.

10. Tripitaka Koreana, South Gyeongsang, South Korea

The library is located in Haeinsa – a Buddhist temple – and features Tripitaka – an important Buddhist scriptures. Texts are carved in the wooden printing blocks in the 13th century – hundreds of years before Gutenberg discovered the technique.

Why to go there?

The whole temple is historically significant and worth visiting.

How to get there?

Get there by bus from Deagu.

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Top 10 Libraries-Tripitaka-Photo by John Dickens

Photo by John Dickens

9. Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal

One of the oldest bookstores in Porto is open since 1906 and fascinates readers with impressive architecture. The bookstore is decorated in Art Nouveau style, with Gothic elements. Elegant interior features elements of glass and wood. Red stairs immediately catch attention.

Why to go there?

It is also classified as the third best bookstore in the world!

How to get there?

The book store is situated on Rua das Carmelitas 144. Get there by metro.

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Top 10 Libraries-Livraria Lello Porto-Photo by Ilya Varamov

Photo by Ilya Varamov

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Photo by Ilya Varlamov

8. The Philosophical Hall, Strahov Abbey, Prague, The Czech Republic

The monastery was founded in 1143 by Bishop Jindřich Zdík after his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The library is one of the most beautiful chambers of the entire complex. It houses over 200,000 volumes, including original manuscripts.

Why to go there?

One of the most popular sites in Prague.

How to get there?

Easy access by train, tram or funicular.

Top 10 Libraries-Philosophical Hall-Photo by Andi Depunkt

Photo by Andi Depunkt

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7. The Theological Hall, Prague, The Czech Republic

The impressive library is also housed in the Strahov Monastery – a historic building complex founded in the 12th century. The library was founded in the late 17th century and features astronomical and terrestrial globes and over 18,000 original volumes.

Why to go there?

Beautiful Baroque architecture, guided tours in Czech and English are available.

Read more: Theological Hall – a Beautiful Baroque Library in Prague

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Top 10 Libraries-Theological Hall3

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Top 10 Libraries-Theological Hall

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6. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven, USA

Found on the campus of Yale University, the library was built in 1963. Its bland marble and granite exterior hides a stunning interior. Light comes in through the yellowish transparent stones and reveals a futuristic space, filled with rare books and manuscripts.

Why to go there?

Both – the collection and building are impressive and worth visiting.

When to go there?

Tours are available, but if you are not a student or staff member, you have to register in advance.

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Top 10 Libraries-Beinecke

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Top 10 Libraries-Beinecke-Photo by Nadja Herger

Photo by Nadja Herger

5. The George Peabody Library, Baltimore, USA

The library of the Johns Hopkins University was built in the 19th century. It houses an enormous collection of 300,000 volumes in art, religion, architecture, topography and history. It is famous for the ethereal neo-Grec interior, which features marble floors, ornamental balustrades and gold-scalloped columns.

Why to go there?

The beautiful place is available to rent for the wedding ceremonies, receptions and other private events.

When to go there?

Always check availability before going.

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Photo by Unknown

4. The Escorial Library, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain

Founded in a residence of the King of Spain in the 16th century, the library features stunning frescoes and decorative elements. Its collection features ancient manuscripts in Latin, Greek, Arabic and books seized during the Inquisition. But more importantly the library set the tone for the centuries to come: it used books to decorate the walls.

Why to go there?

The entire royal palace, which also includes a monastery and a museum, is a popular tourist destination.

How to get there?

El Escorial is only 49 km from Madrid. Get there by car, bus or train using the C3 Line.

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Top 10 Libraries-Escorial

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3. Admont Abbey Library, Admont, Austria

A Benedictine monastery on the Enns River itself is a wonderful architectural ansamble surrounded with the a landscape. The library was built in the 18th century and is the largest monastic library in the world. Ceilings and cupolas are decorated with frescoes, the light is reflected by gold, thus creating an overwhelming effect.

Why to go there?

The whole complex is worth visiting, with this rococo library being one of the most stunning sites.

How to get there?

By car or train – the station is at walking distance from the monastery.

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Photo by Unknown

Top 10 Libraries-Admont

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Top 10 Libraries-Admont-Photo by Marc G

Photo by Marc G

2. The Marciana Library, Venice, Italy

Venice being a cradle of culture and classic architecture, no wonder one of the most beautiful libraries are found here, in the St. Mark’s square. Built in the 16th century, library houses wonderful statues, frescoes, including work by Titian, and classic texts.

Why to go there?

Until this day the library is a center of science and culture, also having a historical and architectural significance.

How to get there?

Located in the heart of Venice – the St. Mark’s square. Get there easily from the Grand Canal.

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1. Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra, Portugal

The opulent library was built in the 18th century, under the reign of King João V, who had raised Portugal’s power and prestige. The dark library features golden decorations, exotic woods, sliding ladders, frescoes and secret reading rooms. It contains hundreds of thousands important volumes.

Why to go there?

The library is part of the University of Coimbra and is one of the most popular tourist attractions.

How to get there?

Get to Coimbra by bus, train or plane from Lisbon or Porto. Get to the University, which is located on a hill, by a trolleybus.

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