15 Of The World’s Greatest Libraries

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Europe, with its rich history of literature and great writers such as Shakespeare and George Orwell, is a heaven for readers worldwide who crowd to its libraries daily. The list is endless so let’s narrow it down to the 15 best European libraries.

1. The Bodleian Library

The Bodleian library - The University of Oxford - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

The University of Oxford houses one of Europe’s oldest libraries – The Bodleian library. It was established in 1602 and its claim to fame is the variety of historical items such as Shakespeare’s First Folio dating to 1623. It is also unique in structure with the Radcliffe Camera – a circular building known worldwide due to its popularity in movies.

2. The Vatican Library

The Vatican Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

It is based in Vatican City, has existed in various forms since the beginning of the Catholic church. It houses just over a million books as well as thousands of manuscripts. It’s prized possession is the complete manuscript of the Bible.

3. The Abbey Library of Saint Gall

The Abbey Library of Saint Gall - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

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Located in Switzerland is Switzerland’s oldest library and was founded in 719. It holds historical manuscripts which date as far back as the 8th century. It was named a World Heritage site in 1983.

4. The Trinity College Library

The Trinity College Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

Situated in Dublin is dubbed the Long Room is the biggest library in Dublin and houses a variety of old books including the Book Kells.

5. Chateau de Chantilly Library

Chateau de Chantilly Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

Located in France is one of the few which houses one of the few existing copies of the Gutenberg Bible and also boasts an art gallery.

6. The Wiblingen Monastery

The Wiblingen Monastery - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries
One of the most beautiful libraries in Germany is the Wiblingen Monastery. Built in the Baroque style, it features unique ornamentation and a stunning fresco ceiling earning its position among the 15 best libraries in Europe.

7. The Stockholm Public Library

Stockholm Public Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

Another visually aesthetic library which is based in Sweden is the Stockholm Public Library. Designed by one of Sweden’s most notable architects, the main library is shaped as a rotunda allowing visitors an awe inspiring all round view of the numerous shelves.

8. The National Library of Belarus

The National Library of Belarus - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries
The National Library of Belarus in Russia is distinctive due to its unique shape which is a combination of cubes and hadrons. It is a public attraction with an observation deck and is also known to house a large collection of Russian works.

9. The Herzog August Library

The Herzog August Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries
This place was founded by a German Duke and is one of the biggest libraries in all of Europe. A third of its 900,000 books are from the 15th Century making it known for collections from the Middle Ages.

10. Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries
This is a library in Austria known for its collections of musical and medieval manuscripts. It is also visually enticing with its frescoed ceilings.

11. The Danish Royal Library

The Danish Royal Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

It has the esteemed label of being one of the few libraries in Denmark to house a copy of every book printed in Denmark since 1482. In the Nordic region, it is the largest library and also contains historical maps of the Polar Region.

12. The Austrian National Library

Known for its collection of medieval maps from as far back as the 16th century, the Austrian National Library is also aesthetically pleasing with charming frescoes on the arched ceilings.

Austrian National Library - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

 

13. The National Library of St. Mark’s

National Library of St Mark - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

Built in 1537,  this landmark deserves a mention among the 15 best libraries in Europe. The Renaissance type structure in Italy has collections dating back to 1468 and contains a copy of every book printed in Venice since 1603.

14. The Reading Room

the reading room british museum - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

Which is in the British Museum can make its claim to fame due to the famous scholars who studied there. These include George Orwell, Karl Marx, and even Mahatma Gandhi. It also hosts exhibitions of recent archeological finds as well as offering books relating to travel, art, and history.

15. The Library of El Escorial

The Library of El Escorial - 15 Of The World's Greatest Libraries

Spain boasts one of the most beautiful libraries in all of Europe. With its high vaulted ceilings, the painted frescoes each represent a liberal art form ranging from music to astronomy.