Madrid / Spectacular, elegant, silent and full of knowledge. With the celebration of Book Day this Thursday and with the impossibility of leaving home, it is a good time to travel literarily through libraries such as Trinity College (Dublin), Laurentina (Madrid) or bookstores such as Lello, de Porto (Portugal).
And it is that every good fan of reading knows the pleasure of wandering through that bookstore or library whose shelves may be lucky enough to find the coveted copy.
But in a situation like the current one, in which the acquisition of books goes exclusively through their online purchase, visiting, even if virtually, some of these great temples may be the perfect balm to overcome the confinement of the reader.
Places such as the Library of Trinity College in Dublin, the Public Library of Évora in Portugal or the National Library of Malta, the Laurentine monastery of El Escorial, the Royal Portuguese Cabinet De Leitura in Rio De Janeiro, the Royal Cosmological Society La Palma or, of course, that of Alexandria, are some of the most recognized reading spaces worldwide.
Library of Alexandria (Egypt)
And that they have become icons of knowledge and a place of tourism, as is the case of the new Library of Alexandria (Egypt), inaugurated in 2002 to recover the spirit of what was the first universal library in the history of the humanity, which came to house 700,000 books on rolls of paper.
Now it is a modern design building in glass and aluminum by the Swedish studio Snohetta, shaped like a huge solar disk in tribute to the god Ra that emerges from the Alexandria promenade and with a spectacular hypostyle room, inspired by the Pharaonic temples, with capacity for 2000 people.
Trinity College Library
Nothing to do with the Trinity College Library, founded in Dublin in 1592, and one of the best known in the world for its beauty and history and for the imposing long wooden shelves that house more than 3 million books. and manuscripts, guarded by numerous marble busts that honor prestigious literary and philosophers.
Literary volumes of the stature of Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde have been consulted in its main room, built during the first half of the 18th century and named “Long Room” for its 65 meters in length. And its main jewel is the “Book of Kells”, a medieval manuscript containing the four New Testament gospels written in Latin.
The libraries of Évora and Malta
The Évora Public Library in Portugal has nothing to envy, opened in 1666 as the College of the Mozos of the Cathedral and which has among its oldest works 664 books printed before 1500, during the so-called “cradle of the printing press” , and 6445 sixteenth century books.
Or the National Library of Malta, founded in 1555, with documents that span the Middle Ages to the present day, thus preserving the country’s history. And it houses the archive of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta, as well as the oldest Maltese poem in history, “Il-Kantilena”, written by the poet Pietru Caxaro in the mid-fifteenth century.
The Royal Library of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
In Spain there are also examples of libraries that are worth a visit from our computer screens.
For example, the Royal Library of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid), also known as the Escurialense or the Laurentina, with an imposing main room of 54 meters long, 9 wide and 10 high, crowned by an impressive barrel vault.
The General Historical Library of the University of Salamanca
As well as the General Historical Library of the University of Salamanca, which has its origin in the 13th century although its current headquarters dates from 1509, rebuilt in the mid-18th century. It is the oldest university library in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe.
Its main room is vaulted, with natural pine shelves and allegorical statues. Next to it and behind the beautiful Plateresque façade of the building, there is the manuscript and incunabula room (it has 487) and the current vault.
Other libraries that are worth a visit are that of the Strahov monastery, in Prague, or the Admont (Austria), both baroque; the rationalist from Humboldt University (Berlin) or the Chinese from Tiajin Binhai, with a spectacular circular architecture.
In America there is from the very modern Beinecke Library of Manuscripts and Rare Books at Yale University (USA), which looks like the scene of “Interstellar” to the ornate beauty of the Royal Portuguese Cabinet De Leitura, in Rio De Janeiro.
Sacred temples for the reader are also some bookstores where the search for a book can easily become a magical and enveloping adventure. The “Lello and Irmao” in Porto, founded in 1869 and considered by many to be the most beautiful bookstore in the world – a filming set for more than one sequence in the “Harry Potter” series – would be only the first in a long list.
Along with this, others could be named as the “Ateneo Gran Splendid” in Argentina, located inside a former tornado theater now a restaurant, “The Last Bookstore” in Los Angeles (USA), the independent bookstore – formerly a bank – largest in southern California.
Or the tiny “Shakespeare and Co.”, close to the Notre Damme Cathedral in Paris and which has a well that, by throwing a coin inside, grants a wish to the visitor.
Just a few spaces of love for reading whose shelves are now waiting in the dark for an avid reader to find a coveted copy among them sooner rather than later. (April 22, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)
The related news on video (May 2013):
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unas importantes bibliotecas que se pueden visitar virtualmente por el Día del Libro.
unas bibliotecas que abrirán sus puertas al público de forma excepcional este año por el Día del Libro.
unos actos que serán celebrados en algunas de las bibliotecas más importantes por el Día del Libro.
la Biblioteca del Trinity College fue fundada a finales del siglo dieciséis en Irlanda.
se desmiente que en la Antigüedad ya hubiera una importante biblioteca en la ciudad de Alejandría.
no solo Bram Stoker sino también Oscar Wilde iban con frecuencia a la Biblioteca General Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca.
algunas escenas de la saga de "Harry Potter" fueron rodadas en la Biblioteca "Escurialense".
en la Biblioteca Nacional de Malta hay documentos que fueron escritos antes de que se inventara la imprenta.
la librería Lello e Irmao se construyó justo cuando se estrenó la primera película de la saga de "Harry Potter".
el “Libro de Kells” se encuentra en una biblioteca que está cerca de la Catedral de Notre Damme.
ninguna de estas bibliotecas está en un monasterio.
la obra “Il-Kantilena” se encuentra en la Biblioteca Nacional de Malta.
esta biblioteca no fue construida en la época de Felipe II.
se tiene interés en que se hagan estudios de los libros del fondo de esta biblioteca.
hay menos de trece mil volúmenes en esta biblioteca.