Friday, January 1, 2016

Austrian National Library: Repository of Grand Magnificence

We were fortunate that during our visit to Austrian National Library, we were guided by a funny tour guide. We basically enjoy her stories about the library.

She said that the library is the second best library in the world (the Pope's library being the first).

The library is housed in a Baroque-style building which is part of the Hofburg Palace. At its entrance is a public square called Josefsplatz. 

Equestrian statue of Josef II

The facade of Austrian National Library

When you enter the library, you will be surprised to see the enormous collection of books, some dating back to antiquities and some were owned by Austrian Royals.

The enormous collection of books dates back from antiquities
to the collection of Habsburg Royals.

In spite of having enormous collection of books, there are still empty shelves to store additional book acquisitions. 

Empty shelves still to contain new books

The library has a weird system of classifying books which is based on size. The smallest books occupy the top shelf level and as you go down, the books get larger and larger. 

The library has a weird book classification
which is according to size.

Old manuscripts such as below are also on display in the library. These are well preserved in its original beauty.

An old manuscript

A magnificent old work of art

Old manuscript with text and illustration

The earliest globes are also on display there. The way globes was made back then exudes princely craftsmanship.  

Globe of antiquity

Old globe

There are also statues which adorn the halls of the library. Many of those depict Austrian Royals who served as patrons. The most imposing is that of Charles VI. 

Royal statues adorning the library

Statue of Emperor Charles VI

The most notable aspect of the library is the fresco at the ceiling which as explained to us by our tour guide has full of meaning and symbolism. These pertain to divinely providence for the royals' good and power.     

The magnificent fresco full of meaning and symbolism 

The cavernous library in full magnificence 

The intricate pillars accentuating the fresco 

Country libraries reflect the intellectual culture of that country's society. What more can I say of Austria having such a national library of Theresian magnificence?     

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