Four centuries-old libraries housing rare manuscripts

DDiana September 3, 2023 9:06 AM

As a bibliophile, there's nothing quite like the smell of old books, the whisper of turning pages, and the aura of centuries-old wisdom that pervades the air of an ancient library. To travel through time and explore these magnificent repositories of knowledge is an unrivaled experience. This journey takes us to four of the world's oldest libraries, still standing, and home to some of the rarest manuscripts on earth.

The Bodleian Library, England

Founded in 1602, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It's home to over 13 million printed items, including many rare and ancient manuscripts. The Radcliffe Camera, a neoclassical rotunda part of the library, is a landmark not to be missed.

The National Library of Russia, Russia

Founded in 1795, the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg houses over 36 million items. The library has an immense collection of early printed books and manuscripts, including the 'Gospel of Matthew' dating back to the 9th century.

The Library of Congress, USA

Established in 1800, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. is the largest library in the world by the number of items housed, with over 170 million items. It's home to the world's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music, and sound recordings. The library's 'Thomas Jefferson Building' is a masterpiece of Beaux-Arts architecture.

The Vatican Library, Vatican City

Established in 1475, the Vatican Library in Vatican City is one of the oldest libraries in the world and houses many significant historical texts. It's home to the 'Codex Vaticanus', one of the oldest copies of the Bible.

Library Location Founded in Notable Manuscripts
Bodleian Library Oxford, England 1602 Various rare and ancient manuscripts
National Library of Russia St. Petersburg, Russia 1795 'Gospel of Matthew' (9th Century)
Library of Congress Washington D.C, USA 1800 World's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music, and sound recordings
Vatican Library Vatican City 1475 'Codex Vaticanus' (One of the oldest copies of the Bible)

Whether you're a passionate book lover or an ardent lover of history and culture, visiting these libraries can be an experience of a lifetime. Not only do they offer glimpses into the past, but they also stand as testaments to human knowledge and the timeless value of literature. The next time you find yourself in one of these cities, make sure to visit these historical libraries and witness the treasures they house.

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