Would you fancy reading under baroque frescos, relaxing in an antique armchair, or in a hypermodern library, built from wooden shelves? Well, travelo.hu collected the most special libraries in Hungary and the world, but we only concentrated on the Hungarian ones and brought five out of the most beautiful libraries into the limelight.
Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library, Budapest
“One of the most beautiful buildings of the magnate district in Pest, which was originally built as a noble private residence; the Wenckheim Palace has been the home of the capital’s library for more than 80 years. The neo-baroque palace, built in 1889, was completely renovated at the turn of the millennium and two buildings were attached to the glorious library palace. The building complex, which has been awarded with Europa Nostra Prize and Architectural Award of Excellence, is the unique example of the harmony between old and new” introduces the brilliant library itself on its website.
Travelo.hu writes that you can get to know the fantastic reading halls while having a book in your hands. Their favourite one is the philosophic hall with its wooden, carved spiral staircase and crystal chandeliers. It’s worth joining the history of art walks held every second Saturday between 11 and 12 am. However, make sure to apply in time as they are usually full.
Helikon Library, Keszthely
Hungary’s only unharmed baronial private library can be found in the imposing Festetics Castle in Keszthely. Books were so important for the Festetics family that they built a separate library annex to the baroque castle; the construction was finished in 1801. Some curiosities can be found in the collection, which counts more than 80 thousand books. The oldest book is Chronica Hungarorum, the work of János Thuróczy from 1488. Besides the books the classicist interior of the library is also unique.
“The survival of the collection is due to the commander of the Russian corps occupying Keszthely in WWII, who estimated the value of the treasures and walled up the library and the surrounding halls. They collected the most valuable furniture, paintings, statues, porcelains into the blocked-up rooms, which survived war times in their own places, oppositely to the furnishment of other Hungarian castles” writes Helikon Castle Museum on their website.
Cistercian Monumental Library, Zirc
Many people don’t know that the building of the Zirc Abbey gives place to a special library. According to travelo.hu, the first books arrived with the first monks into the monumental library, which counted 65 thousand books in the 1950s. This collection is also rich in curiosities. They have 70 incunabulums, mostly in the theme of theology.
If you take a good look at the ceiling of the inlaid great hall, then you can see that a significant part of it had to be restored. In WWII a combat plain crushed into the roofing of the great hall, thus damaging it seriously. The library can only be visited with a guide.
Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest
This is another imposing library, which was established by historian Count József Teleki, the first President of the Academy, who offered his 30,000 volume library to the Academy in 1826. The central library moved to its current location in Arany János Street in the 1980s due to the lack of space. The building was designed by Miklós Ybl and some windows of the classicist library have a beautiful view of the Danube.
According to paragraph no. 75 of the Academy’s Statutes “The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences disseminates knowledge and promotes scientific research. Historically, it is a national institution making available traditional (printed, manuscript and archival) holdings as well as other information media.”
Library of the Calvinist College, Sárospatak
The almost 400 thousand volume collection of the library consist of manuscripts, newspapers, maps, scores, school-reports, mourning-cards, movies, records and electronic documents, which all together add up to half a million library units. The problem of storage capacity was solved in 1986 with the plans of Imre Makovecz, who designed the Repositorium building.
The printed collection is mostly made up of theological, philosophical, historical, ethnographical, social scientific and linguistic books, but the number of belletrist books is also quite notable due to the probate libraries. The stock has 7 codices, 18 codex- fragments, 33 incunabulums, and 1430 ancient Hungarian books with several curiosities. The library has its own workshop which deals with the restoring of damaged copies.
Photos: www.helikonkastely.hu, www.fszek.hu, www.zirciapatsag.hu, www.old.mta.hu, www.unitas.hu
Copy editor: bm
Source: Daily News Hungary