8 Stunning Images of the Most Beautiful Library in the World

This incredible library houses nearly 6 million documents, and has more than 20,000 registered readers.

The Clementinum library in the Czech Republic is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It features a unique style of Baroque architecture and was first opened in 1722, being part of the Jesuit University. Its ceiling frescoes illustrate science and art in a unique example available nowhere else in the world. Many of its rare, historical books have been digitalized and will become part of Google Books.


An image of the ceiling and books of the Clementinum Library. It offers a unique combination of art and literature. Shutterstock.
An image of the ceiling and books of the Clementinum Library. It offers a unique combination of art and literature. Shutterstock.

Have you ever wondered what the most beautiful library is in the world? Or what is the most ancient library that ever existed? If we dig into history books, we will come across ancient libraries such as the famous Library of Alexandria, or those of Athens, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Nineveh.

But there are many other libraries that are entirely fascinating. One of them is located in Europe, the Czech Republic, and it is called the Clementinum library. This incredible library offers a stunning example of Baroque architecture and was first opened in 1722.

The Clementinum Library is home to more than 20,000 books, its frescoes illustrate science and art. Image Credit: BrunoDelzant / Flickr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0.
The Clementinum Library is home to more than 20,000 books, its frescoes illustrate science and art. Image Credit: BrunoDelzant / Flickr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0.

It contributes a stunning collection of more than 6 million documents and has around 20,000 registered readers. Its treasure trove of books, as well as its unique architectural style, makes it one of the most unique, and beautiful libraries on the planet; a dream-come-true for book lovers.

The National Library of the Czech Republic is home to 20,000 books and hundreds of thousands of other items. Shutterstock.
The National Library of the Czech Republic is home to 20,000 books and hundreds of thousands of other items. Shutterstock.

The National Library of the Czech Republic is part of the Clementinum, which is a huge complex of buildings including the famous Astronomical Tower, and the mirror chapel. The Astronomical Tower has been a weather center since 1775.

A view of the ceiling of the National Library of the Czech Republic. Shutterstock.
A view of the ceiling of the National Library of the Czech Republic. Shutterstock.

The National Library is the biggest of its kind in the Czech Republic, home to around 6 million documents. Among its most precious collection are two scripts; the Codex Vyssegradensis and the Passional of Abbes Kunigunde.

The National Library of the Czech Republic mostly houses books in Czech, although also features many international examples. Shutterstock.
The National Library of the Czech Republic mostly houses books in Czech, although it also features many international examples. Shutterstock.

History

Along with the Charles University of Prague that maintained several thematic or partial libraries, in the 13th century, the Studium generale school emerged in the old town of Prague, in the Dominican monastery. This school, together with its library, was merged in the 14th century with the University. In 1556 a group of monks of the Jesuit Order built a boarding school on the remains of the monastery, which they called Clementinum.

The National Library of the Czech Republic also houses books for Charles University in Prague. Shutterstock.
The National Library of the Czech Republic also houses books for Charles University in Prague. Shutterstock.

In 1622 the administration of Charles University passed to the Jesuits and all the partial libraries were unified and housed in the Clementinum. In 1773, the university became a state institution and its library was declared the “Imperial-Royal Public and University Library” by Maria Theresa (“öffentlichen kk Universitätsbibliothek”) which in 1887 also it was reflected in the name in Czech (ck Veřejná a univerzitní knihovna).

The National Library of the Czech Republic also stores older material from Turkey, Iran and India. Shutterstock.
The National Library of the Czech Republic also stores older material from Turkey, Iran, and India. Shutterstock.

After 1918 control of the library passed into the hands of the new Czechoslovakia. The Slovanská knihovna (Slavic Library) was founded in 1924, moving to the Clementinum in 1929, and to date (2020) continues to be an autonomous area of ​​the National Library.

The National Library makes its digital content available in the digital libraries Manuscriptorium (http://www.manuscriptorium.com/en) and Kramerius (http://kramerius5.nkp.cz).

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