The first libraries of the world date back to the days of the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, nearly 3000 years BC. Three thousand years later, Cicero mused, “If you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need.”
Knowledge is one’s greatest asset, many scholar’s would say and what better place to procure that knowledge than in a library? They’re a dependable refuge for a quiet afternoon no matter where you are in the world. On top of that, some of them are architectural gems, definitely worth a visit.
Thiers Library – Paris
This beautiful library is located in the old apartment of Adolphe Thiers, in one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Paris. It’s contents are devoted to the history of France, particularly that of the nineteenth century, with 160,000 books and 30,000 comics, some of which date back to the Revolution. Unfortunately the library isn’t open to the public unless you’re a research student and if you are one of the few fortunate enough to hold a card to this library, enjoy.
Thiers Library, 27 place Saint-Georges, 75009 Paris
Trinity College Library – Dublin
Two floors and the grandest staircases in all the land, the library at Trinity University comes right out of a fairytale. There are more than 5 million books here, most notably the Book of Kells, an impressive manuscript dating back to the ninth century. Statues of famous Anglo-Saxons line the aisles, do you know their stories? Admission is €10 a person.
Trinity College Library, located in front of the parliament
Strahov Monastery Library – Prague
Founded in 1140 by Vladislav II, the Strahov Monastery hides a library which dates back more than 800 years. Enlightening manuscripts, world maps and globes, some dating back to the Middle Ages, are shown in an incredible fresco depicting man on his quest for truth. A true temple of knowledge, this underrated spot can be visited for 80 CZK. Open daily.
Strahov Monastery, Strahovské nádvoří 1/132, Prague
George Peabody Library – Baltimore
This great American library stands six floors tall and is a masterpiece of white marble. Hundreds of thousands of old books are kept inside. The sight of this large hall is amazing, and if you have time to kill, we recommend doing it here. Leaf through American history encyclopaedias or brush up on your Latin. Admission is free. The library is open Tuesdays to Fridays.
George Peabody Library. 17 East Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland
Are you still a member of your local library, even after the ebook revolution? Know of any other beautiful libraries around the world?