While your municipal library may have an extensive research department, chances are it is fairly plain and down to business in appearance. However, the written word has been valued for millenia and the human race has worked tirelessly to house tomes of wisdom in majestic and regal libraries. Enjoy some of the most beautiful libraries in the world while learning a little bit of their history.

Top Majestic Libraries Around the World:

  • Clementinum Library Hall
  • Library of Parliament
  • Thomas Jefferson Building
  • Leipzig University Library
  • Boston Athenæum
  • National Library of Russia

Clementinum Library Hall

Located in the heart of Prague in the Czech Republic, the Clementinum Library Hall is built on a site that dates back to the 11th century. In 1556, the chapel was converted to a Jesuit college and later in 1622 became the home to the Charles University Library. The extensive artwork on the ceiing was completed by Jan Heibl. The signature tile floor, carved bookcases and stunning interior design make it one of the most beautiful libraries on the planet.


  • Jan Heibl ceiling art
  • Baroque Library Hall
  • Tile Floor

Library of Parliament

You’ll find this Vcitorian gothic library in Ottowa, Ontario. Built in 1876, it appears in many aspects like an ancient cathedral with 16 flying buttresses and topped with copper roof. Home to the Parliament of Canada, it provides a repository of research materials for the nation’s lawmakers. Inside, the towering bookcases feature carvings of masks, flowers and textures for a grand yet serene reading room. 600,000 books call this mansion their home.


  • Built with flying buttresses
  • Home to the Parliament of Canada
  • 600,000 books

Thomas Jefferson Building

The oldest building of the Library of Congress, the Thomas Jefferson Building was constructed in 1897 to house the ever expanding printed materials with registered copyrights in the United States. Buit in keeping with the Beaux Arts style Washington D.C. is well-known for, the Jefferson building brings that attention to detail inside. The round reading room and marble-encapsulated Great Hall are iconic parts of this famous library.


  • Library of Congress
  • Beaux Art style
  • Visit the iconic Great Hall

Leipzig University Library

Built in 1542, this library has lasted through the Reformation and both World Wars. It now houses over 5 million volumes inside its historic walls. The white stonework in the main hall remains an iconic reminder of all it was before two-thirds of it was destroyed by bombs between 1943 and 1945. Most of the tomes were saved, preserving historic works such as Codex Sinaiticu which dates back to 1600 BC. It also boasts a complete copy of the Gutenburg Bible and the Kitab al-Zina, an ancient Islamic manuscript.


  • Codex Sinaiticu
  • 5 million books
  • Bombed in World War II

Boston Athenæum

This private library was funded and built by a group of individuals who all contributed in the early 19th century to a Boston, Massachusetts periodical, The Monthly Anthology. Wishing for a private reading room, they commissioned this impressive home to one of the most extensive private collections featuring art, sculpture and books focusing on American history. The main reading room is a study in neo-classicism with white pillars supporting carved bookcases and elegant couches. The Atheneum continues to be funded by its membership. Famous members have been John F. Kennedy, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Ralph Waldo Emerson.


  • Private library
  • American history collection
  • Library has had several famous members

National Library of Russia

It is amazing that this building has survived the tumult of Russia’s violent history. Located in St. Petersburg on Nevsky Avenue, it was built in 1814 and remains the oldest public library in the nation. Constructed on the scale of other notable Russian public works such as the Kremlin in Moscow, its magnificence and detail are truly a majestic home to its books. Containing an extensive catalogue of national historic records, it is truly remarkable that it survived through the imperial era, through the Bloshevik Revolution, avoided being eliminated during Communist rule and was renovated in the last few decades. Over 36 million items are catalogued in its massive rooms.


  • Strong Russian history
  • 36 million items catalogued
  • Stood through several wars


One this is clear when reviewing all these magnificent libraries, no matter what part of the world you live in, we all value information, history and the written word. Our greatest artists, architects, politicians and every day citizens have all contributed to celebrating books and go to great lengths to protect them.