The Silent Beauty of Top 4 Libraries Around The World

The Silent Beauty of Top 4 Libraries Around The World

ADMONT ABBEY – AUSTRIA

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Admont Abbey stands amid the snowy peaks of the Austrian Alps. Its origins go back to 1074, but the present library dates from the 1770s, when Baroque was all the rage. In the main room, white and gold shelves are topped by pastel ceiling frescoes, giving this scholarly place a look that is almost too exuberant for distraction-free reading.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

  • Entry to Admont Abbey is £7 before March. OAdmont is 11/2 hours’ drive from Ryanair-served Linz Airport.
  • The four-star Hotel Spirodom Admont has abbey or parkland views.

ST GALLEN ABBEY – SWITZERLAND

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St Gallen Abbey is a World Heritage site in the Swiss canton named in its honour. A library has existed here since the 8th century, a rare spark of light in the post-Roman Dark Ages. The main room is a rich, wood-lined 18th-century Baroque, but among the 150,000 books preserved and sparingly displayed here are around 400 from before 1000 AD.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

  • St Gallen Abbey is open forvisits daily.
  • St Gallen is one hour by train from Zurich Airport.
  • Feel extra brainy with a stay at the plush, 19th-century Einstein Hotel.

THE BIBLIOTHEQUE MAZARINE – FRANCE

THE-BIBLIOTHEQUE-MAZARINE

The Bibliotheque Mazarine is France’s oldest public library, a Paris fixture since 1643. Inside a domed building facing the Seine that also hosts the French Academy, the library has a bust-lined reading room from the era of Moliere. The library’s founder, Cardinal Mazarin, was the successor to Cardinal Richelieu, of Three Musketeers fame.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

  • Visits to the library are free.
  • Find it on the Left Bank by the Pont des Arts, facing the Louvre.
  • Near the Centre Pompidou, Hotel Georgette is bold but sweet.

THE KLEMENTINUM – CZECH REPUBLIC

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The Klementinum sprawls across a complex of Baroque and Rococo halls in Prague’s Stare Mesto (Old Town). Tours are currently being reorganised, but highlights include the Astronomical Tower and the 1727-vintage library, with its shelves supported by curlicue wooden columns and a fine line-up of explorers’ globes down the centre of the hall.

MAKE IT HAPPEN

  • See online for current details of guided tours.
  • The library is at the east end of Charles Bridge, in Prague’s centre.
  •  The Perla Hotel is a slinky and appealing designer choice in Stare Mesto.

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