guest post: five historic libraries to turn you into a reader
We love travel and we are sure everyone who visits us here knows that. But other than travel, our other love is reading. And so we couldn’t resist this opportunity when we were approached to feature a guest post about libraries.
Shhhhh. From monastic reading rooms to an astonishing everyman’s book trove, Holiday Lettings takes a temporary vow of silence and explores five of the most historic libraries on the planet.
George Peabody Library, Baltimore
Photo credit: By Matthew Petroff (license) via Wikimedia Commons
From its marble floor to the decorative iron balconies all the way up to its vertiginous 61-foot roof, this labour of love is undeniably impressive.
Founded by philanthropist George Peabody for the people of Baltimore to enjoy, and now part of John Hopkins University, this huge temple of learning contains around 300,000 books. These mostly date from the 18th to 20th centuries and cover a broad range of reference topics, including history, art, religion and travel.
Trinity College Library, Dublin
Photo credit: Superchilum (license) via Wikimedia Commons
Trinity College’s Old Library is Ireland’s largest. It specialises in early printed works and dominates this attractive city-centre campus. The main attraction for visitors is the impressive Long Room (65 metres long, to be exact). Here you can marvel at the extravagant illustrations and graceful calligraphy of the Book of Kells, an ancient illuminated manuscript dating back to 800 AD.
See if you can spot writer Jonathan Swift among the pale marble busts. Then check out the barrel ceiling, a later development devised when the library’s groaning shelves called for an extra level to be added.
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Photo credit: Koen de Geus (license) via flickr.com
Part of the prestigious University of Oxford, the Bodleian is a must-see attraction on a visit to this genteel city. Walk the hallowed halls, from the hushed reading rooms to the Divinity School, to the Exhibition Room, then step back out into the quadrangles to admire the elegant frontage.
On your tour you may think you recognise certain spots – that’s because parts of the Bodleian featured in the Harry Potter films. Check online before making a special trip, as certain rooms close for university ceremonies and private events.
The Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Rio de Janeiro
Photo credit: Os Rúpias (license) via flickr.com
The pale limestone facade here reveals a stunning interior heaving with around 350,000 volumes of Portuguese literature. It’s the largest assemblage of Portuguese works outside of Portugal itself.
Chandelier-lit, adorned with carved wooden arches and packed almost up to its soaring, ornate ceiling with valuable literature and New World maps, grand doesn’t quite cover the magnificence of this reading room. Time to take a seat at one of the dark wooden desks and put on your most studious face…
Strahov Monastery Library, Prague
Photo credit: Pascal Hassenforder (license) via flickr.com
Head to the imposing Strahov Monastery to see its two historic library spaces, lined with around 200,000 texts. The 17th-century Theological Hall is dotted with antique globes and features an entire wall of Bibles in various editions and languages. All of this is overlooked by a jaw-dropping ceiling fresco by painter Siard Nosecký.
Move on to the Philosophical Hall, a newer 18th-century addition, which sports another ceiling fresco by Vienna’s Anton Maulbertsch. You won’t be able to tell, but false book spines hide secret staircases up to the higher levels here. Be sure to book in advance onto a guided library tour to guarantee a glimpse of these awe-inspiring rooms.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, it was selected by us to be featured. This is a guest post written by Holiday Lettings, a Tripadvisor.com company.
weekly photo challenge: depth
Depth can be the distance between the front to the end of something…
So we are showing the depth of a trdelnik – a sweet pastry made from rolled dough, wrapped around a stick, grilled and then covered with sugar/cinnamon.
We had one of these every day when we were in Czech Republic. YUM!
Have you ever had one of these before?
How has everyone interpreted depth? Check it out here.
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our first month in review
We have been away exactly a month now and we have enjoyed every moment and experience! We have seen some mind-blowing, spectacular and confronting things. And we have learnt soooo much more about European history from the countries that we have visited.
Here is our first month in a quick review:
Our first stop was Russia where we visited Moscow and St Petersburg. There we saw some amazingly opulent palaces and got a sneak peak into the lives of the past royals. Our standout moment from here would be setting eyes on St Basil’s in Red Square for the first time.
The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were next on the agenda. We learnt about the Singing Revolution which we had no idea about and also learnt about the Baltic Way – 2 million people holding hands across the 3 countries to make a 600 km human chain to stand up for their independence. A few of our favourites in this area would be visiting the Hill of Crosses and experiencing the old towns of each capital city
Poland was definitely a little surprise package for us. We enjoyed what the country had to offer; its history, food, people and culture. Here we experienced awe as well as sadness. There were moments of joy and wonderment as we visited the Wieliczka Salt Mines, walked around the Old Town of Krakow and be impressed at the restoration efforts of Warsaw. Then there were moments of heart-break where we shed tears for those who lost their lives during World War II especially when we visited the concentrations camps.
We had a small taste of Czech Republic back in 2006 when we visited Prague for a few days. This time, we had an opportunity to visit Cesky Krumlov as well. One of our highlights in Cesky Krumlov was definitely getting a tour of the Zámecké Divadlo (Castle Theatre). One of the last few remaining wooden theatres still with costumes, props and stage sets. Prague was nothing like we remembered, probably because we came this time with “older” eyes and a different mindset to travel. A highlight would have to be seeing the Astronomical Clock again and really appreciating it for what it was this time.
Now we are in Bordeaux, France and we are loving France all over again. Despite common belief, the French people are very friendly and always willing to help. Two memorable experiences amongst the many so far (as we still have all up another 10 days or so) was watching Moulin Rouge and seeing Mont St Michel. Next stop Carcassonne 🙂
Have a great week ahead, folks!
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weekly photo challenge: texture
Recently while in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, we visited the Marionette Museum. Looking at all the different puppets on display, this entire room is full of texture.
For other interpretations of texture, visit The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge
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