Libraries are some of the calmest places one could imagine. It is the perfect choice for reading, working, studying, educating ourselves, and getting to know more about the world around us. However, oftentimes, these buildings are not only home to immeasurable knowledge but also have architectural value. In this list, we have collected six of the most impressive libraries in Budapest.
1. ELTE University Library and Archives (ELTE Egyetemi Könyvtár és Levéltár)
The library of ELTE houses approximately two million documents, making it the third-largest library in the Hungarian capital. The more than 450-year-old institution was founded by Archbishop Miklós Oláh of Esztergom, although originally in Nagyszombat, together with the Jesuit College. Soon afterwards, the library moved to Budapest. As we can learn from Funzine’s article, in the mid-19th century, the library was already visited by 35,000 readers a year.
Find the library here: 1053 Budapest, Ferenciek tere 6.
2. Szabó Ervin Library of Budapest (Fővárosi Szabó Ervin Könyvtár)
The Szabó Ervin Library is considered the largest public cultural institution in Budapest. Budapest’s first public library started its operations in 1904, known as the Capital City Library (Fővárosi Könyvtár) at the time. The huge library has been housed in the Wenckheim Palace on Reviczky Street since 1931. One of the first directors of the institution was Ervin Szabó, who later gave his name to the library.
Find the library here: 1088 Budapest, Szabó Ervin Square 1.
3. National Library of Foreign Literature and Music Collection (Országos Idegennyelvű Könyvtár és Zenei Gyűjtemény)
As we can read on their official website, the National Library of Foreign Literature is one of the youngest public research libraries in Hungary. It has been called National Library of Foreign Literature since 1989. It was established in 1956 under the name of “Gorkij State Library” and had originally operated as a Russian language library. Up to this point, an incomparable collection of foreign language materials has been developed nationwide. The institute was qualified as a national resource library in 1978 and later to an academic research centre.
Find the library here: 1056 Budapest, Molnár Street 11.
4. Library of the Parliament (Országgyűlési Könyvtár)
Only few people know that one of the most special libraries of Budapest can be found in the building of the Parliament on Kossuth Square. According to Funzine, once only members of Parliament could use the library’s services, but for more than 70 years now, the 130-seat reading room has been open to anyone. Seated at carved wooden tables and lit by antique lamps, anyone can browse through all the publications of the United Nations or the European Union.
Find the library here: 1055 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos Square 1-3.
5. BME National Technical Information Centre and Library (BME Országos Műszaki Információs Központ és Könyvtár)
This library is considered one of the most decorative of its kind in Budapest. Built in the early 1900s, the building was designed by Samu Pecz. Passing through the central lobby, we enter the reading room where sometimes even film crews appear. The furnishings are mostly modern pieces but still fit in well with the old-fashioned style of the place. There are nearly a million volumes to choose from, including a significant amount of literature in Economics and many technical disciplines.
Find the library here: 1111 Budapest, Budafoki Street 4.
6. Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA Könyvtár és Információs Központ)
According to the library’s Facebook page, since its foundation in 1826, the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has dedicated itself to supporting scientific and scholarly research and safeguarding its precious collections for generations to come. The library 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. We can find works on ancient studies, language and literature, oriental studies, history of science, and publications from foreign academies.
Find the library here: 1051 Budapest, Arany János Street 1.
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Source: Funzine, konyvtar.mta.hu, Facebook
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