The most beautiful libraries in the world | Books | DW | 24.10.2017
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Books

The most beautiful libraries in the world

A place of study and contemplation, a resting and meeting place: libraries have existed for over 4000 years. As Germany celebrates World Book Day, we catalogue some of the most spectacular libraries on the planet.

If the extravagent new libraries erected to house millions of books around the world are any indicator, libraries today continue to attract a great many readers young and old, despite the prevalence of digital offerings.

German physicist Albert Einstein once famously said that the only thing you "absolutely have to know" is the location of the library, a view that has been shared by countless scientists, writers, politicians and statesmen.

Read more: Nazi-looted books found in German libraries

'Everything you need'

French 20th-century philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre saw the library as "a temple," while Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman and scholar who lived in the first century BC, wrote that if you have a garden and a library, "you have everything you need." 

British essayist and poet T.S. Eliot felt that "the very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man."

Irland Long Room, Trinity College, Dublin - Bibliothek (Imago/imagebroker)

The Long Room library in Trinity College, Dublin, is a treasure-trove of knowledge

A window to the world

The library even features in contemporary fantasy novels. In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," young wizard Ron Weasley says about his friend Hermione that, "when in doubt" she "goes to the library."

Jorge Luis Borges, a 20th century Argentine writer and poet imagined paradise as a "kind of library."

Step into the world's literary "paradises" by clicking through the gallery above — while a selection of stunning German libraries can be found below.

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