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Libraries are some of the most complete and incredible tributes to human knowledge imaginable, and with their range of resources, they’re invaluable when it comes to studying. However, reading up on a topic of choice needn’t be done in a bland and boring building.
While it’s the books and facilities that make a library, being in lovely surroundings may provide inspiration and help you to work that little bit harder. Whether they feature sleek, eye-catching architecture or extravagant interiors, these are some of the most beautiful libraries of all times.
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Admont Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in the town of Admont, Austria. It is the oldest remaining monastery in Styria and contains the largest monastic library in the world. The abbey is known for its Baroque architecture, art, and manuscripts. The books in the abbey’s original collection were re-bound in white to match the rest of the decorative scheme.
The Clementinum has been described as “the Baroque pearl of Prague,” and this is surely due, at least in part, to the richly adorned interior of its library, with its touches of gold and stunning spiral pillars. The library was built in 1722 and is graced with a ceiling adornment by Jan Hiebl that celebrates ancient learning and wisdom.
Wiblingen Monastery and its church represent the final masterpiece of Baroque architecture in Upper Swabia. The interior of the library is considered to be one of the finest examples of Rococo architecture. The colourful ceiling frescoes, painted by Januarius Zick, are considered some of the most important representations of this art form in the Württemberg region.
Iowa State Capitol Law Library in Des Moines is one beautiful building in which we wouldn’t mind getting lost. The splendid space connects its five levels with elaborately detailed cast-iron spiral stairs and features interiors in chestnut and ash woods. American architects John Cochrane and Alfred Piquenard were responsible for its design.
Abbey Library of Saint Gall it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery.” With its areas of magnificently carved wood, paint and stucco, Austrian architect Peter Thumb’s opulent Rococo hall is said to be Switzerland’s superlative example of Baroque design.
Gilded finishes are plentiful in the beautiful Baroque Joanina Library, which is part of the University of Coimbra General Library in Coimbra, Portugal, and was completed in 1728. Its three rooms – which contain 70,000 older volumes stacked over two stories – are divided by elaborate archways.
The attractive, elaborate Victorian High Gothic structure of Ottawa’s Library of Parliament owes its design to Canadian architects Chilion Jones and Thomas Fuller. The three-tiered roof crowned with a cupola adds to the majestic effect of the library.
Famed for its ‘Long Room,’ the library of Trinity College library is home to the largest collection of books in Ireland. The over 200-foot-long main room is covered in marble and dark wood pilasters. When it was first completed, the ‘Long Room’ had a flat ceiling, but the roof was raised to accommodate more books.
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