Most Beautiful Libraries In the World

The Library of Congress

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The de facto national library of the United States, the Library of Congress is also the largest library in the world (by shelf-length). Although it is open to anyone, only the Supreme Court Justices, the U.S. Senators, and the President can check out books from the Library. [Among his other duties, the Librarian of Congress appoints the Poet Laureate]. 

The Westminster Libraries

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The two library complexes of the House of Commons (top) and House of Lords (bottom) were built together with the Palaces of Westminster. Originally they served as map rooms, and committee rooms. The Derby Room in the House of Lords (pictured) is one of the most beautiful rooms in the building. 

J.P.Morgan Library

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In an unassuming residence of J.P.Morgan exists his library, one of the hidden treasures of New York. The original private collection was preserved and expended by Morgan’s own personal librarian. The above picture is the newly renovated facade of the building.  

The New York Public Library

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Featured in many movies and books, NYPL is an institution in itself. Also famous are two famous stone lions guarding the entrance–Leo Astor and Leo Lenox (named after the library’s founders, John Jacob Astor and John Lenox). The lions are also nicknamed “Patience” and “Fortitude”.

Boston Athenaeum

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An art gallery and museum as well as a library, Boston Athenaeum in Boston, Massachusetts was founded in 1807. The library contains extensive Confederate war documents and papers from George Washington’s home. 

Duchess Anna Amelia Library

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It burnt down in 2004–an ironic twist for a building that survived two World Wars–but its collection was saved. [In the rabble was discovered an unknown Bach aria]. Founded by Duchess Anna Amelia in Weimer, Germany, the library contains the largest collection of Faust-related manuscripts in the world.

Abbey Library of St. Gall

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Considered one of the richest medieval libraries in the world, the abbey library at St. Gall contains 2,100 manuscripts from the 8th to 15th centuries, 1,650 incunabula (those printed before 1500) in addition to 160,000 volumes. The manuscript B of the Nibelngenlied is kept under this Swiss library’s magnificently decorated ceiling. 

Senate Library, Palais du Luxembourg

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The French Senate is housed in the Palais du Luxembourg in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris. Behind the wonderful Jardin du Luxembourg lies the library of the senate, decorated by various masters (including Eugene Delacroix).   

Klementinum, Prague

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Currently the National Library of the Czech Republic, the Clementinum is housed in the historical complex of buildings that date back to the 11th century.  Amidst its twisted wood columns and under its trompe-l’oeil frescoed ceiling, the Baroque library contains a collection of Mozartiana and works of Tycho Brahe. The Czech Government is building a new modernistic library (above) designed by Jan Kaplický.

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