Austrian National Library

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Austrian National Library, Vienna Overview

The Austrian National Library is a literal heaven for all bibliophiles and history enthusiasts. Storing collections of international value including the Tabula Peutingeriana (the Roman road map of the 13th century), or a 6th-century manuscript, and even a 9th-century text fragment; the Library comprises of not only architectural excellence, but also remarkable museums to explore. Visitors can admire everything from its rich art style to the treasure chest of historical relics. The Library is renowned for its State Hall, boasts of incredible frescoes featuring military scenes on the dome. A day in the Austrian National Library is truly a walk down the lanes of history. The best time to visit the Museum is during the months of Summer.

Established almost 450 years ago, the Austrian National Library has witnessed an interesting past. With several changes of names and governments, the Library today stands as one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful monuments. The experience is complete with a detailed exploration of its collections, tour of several smaller museums including the Globe Museum and Papyrus Museum, to name a few. The Library is a crowd favourite amongst art enthusiasts as well who make their way here to admire the fine sculptures, woodwork, and wall paintings. This antique gem placed at the heart of the city is definitely worth a visit to witness some of the world’s greatest recorded findings.

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Highlights and Things to Do at Austrian National Library

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The Austrian National Library is no less than a national treasure, preserving records and texts dating back centuries. Visitors and bibliophiles in specific take this tour to their delight as the Library offers a range of museums to explore, original books to witness, and an architectural masterpiece to admire.

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Apart from gazing at the elegant monument, visitors can browse through several collections kept in the Austrian National Library. The Library preserves manuscripts and some rare books which have survived over time. The 4th-century collection of antique manuscripts rests in the Library. There is also the Vienna Dioscurides which is a popular find.

The oldest book: 'Evangeliar of Johannes of Troppau', a medieval text is safely kept and boasts of the illustrations and handwritten script.

Perhaps the most popular highlight of the Austrian National Library is the majestic State Hall. Featuring a stunning scenery of frescoes on the ceiling, along with intricately carved marble columns, wooden galleries, books exceeding the count of 200,000 and much more; visitors are in for a delight especially with the fine sculptures placed inside the hall. The entry to the State Hall requires an entry fee of EUR 7.

One of the unique features of the Library includes the Globe Museum also houses a collection of maps. Dating back to the 16th century, the Museum has preserved historically significant maps along with 300 globes.

The Papyrus Museum is another distinguishing factor of the Austrian National Library, showcasing the private collections of earlier Emperors. It also preserves more than 180,000 objects along with scripts, tools, tablets, inscriptions, and more.

Visitors can also cruise through the Planned Languages Department, collection of music works, older paintings, and other treasured relics.

Tourists can keep an eye out for the annual exhibitions which take place showcasing the valuable objects preserved overtime. The Library hosts two to three annual exhibitions.

History of Austrian National Library

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The Austrian National Library dates back to about 450 years ago as it was established in 1575. It had its origin in the Imperial Library during the Middle Ages. However, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in 1722 ordered the construction of the Baroque style monument. The collection of the library grew by thousands during this time, and many are still preserved till date.

After dynamic and turbulent phases of changing governments and governance styles, the Austrian National Library remains as it is since 1945. The Library building was constructed in link to the Hofburg palace and also housed several other museums including the Papyrus Museum, Globe Museum, and Esperanto Museum. What interests the visitors most is the oldest of the medieval era which is still preserved since 1368.

Architecture of Austrian National Library

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Proudly labelled as one of the most beautiful historical libraries, the Austrian National Library has great Baroque style architectural influence in its construction. Renowned for being the biggest Library in Austria, the Library is a part of the Hofburg Palace area. The architectural style speaks of Baroque rounded arches, slim columns, and detailed railings. The architect behind this masterpiece is Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach who also worked on the notable Schonbrunn Palace.

The entrance of the Library is donned with a horseback statue, along with the detailed carvings and statues in the background. The Library open to the public also contains a special Museum site, State Hall, Literature Museum, Globe Museum, and much more.

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This architectural gem is home to one of the finest collections of art and rare books. One of its main architectural elements includes the State Hall, which is a 70 m long hall filled with frescoes, marble statues, and an incredible dome. What’s more? It stores the rarest of rare books from the 1500s to 1850, ranging over 200,000 texts. With a majestic blend of literature, art, and architecture; the Austrian National Library is heaven’s abode for any book lover.

How to Reach Austrian National Library

Metro: The underground metro or U-Bahn connects to the Austrian National Library through the routes U3 and U1. Travellers taking the U3 can get off at Herrengasse, and those taking either U1 or U3 can also get off at Stephansplatz. The Library is a short walk from the station. 

Tram and Bus: Trams 1, 2, 71, or D connect the Library to the Burgring stop. Hofburg is a short walk from there. Visitors can also take the 1A or 2A bus service and exit at Michaelerplatz.

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