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By The Virtual Tourist
Geisel Library, University of California at San Diego
While the word "library" often conjures up memories of musky buildings and worn books, the truth is that many of the world's libraries are also some of the world's greatest architectural achievements. With this in mind, the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com present their picks for the world's "Top 10
1. LIBRARIES AT ANGKOR WAT; SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
Located within the striking temple complex of Angkor Wat, these four libraries are shrouded in mystery. Their true purpose remains unknown and their unique design, opening to both the East and West, leaves visitors asking unanswerable questions and taking unforgettable photographs.
2. BIBLIOTECA PARQUE ESPANA; MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
Not to be confused with megaliths of ancient worship, these three enormous rock-like structures are actually a modern library and auditorium in disguise. Overlooking Medellin, the
3. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
Be sure not to get lost during your tour of this library or you might never find your way out. Housed in the historic Thomas Jefferson Building, it is the largest library in the world with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts.
4. MUSEUM OF PICTURE BOOKS; IWAKI CITY, JAPAN
Concrete, glass, and wood beautifully unite to create this one-of-a kind library that houses a collection of international children's books colorfully displayed with covers out. Open to the public on Fridays, or by special request and invitation, this museum transports both adults and children into a real-life magical castle.
5. THE NEW BIBLIOTHECA ALEXANDRINA; ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT
Not to be confused with the original
6. LIBRARY IN THE MONASTERY OF SAN FRANCISCO; LIMA, PERU
This library, located in the convent of the colonial Monastery of San Francisco, houses thousands of ancient texts. After visiting the library, take a tour of the church to learn more about the mystery of its catacombs.
7. BIBLIOTHEK DES RECHTSWISSENSCHAFTLICHEN INSTITUTS; ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
The stunning architecture of Santiago Calatrava makes it hard for students to concentrate while studying in this law library at the
8. GEISEL LIBRARY,
Oh, the place to go! Named in honor of Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, this library's lantern design coincidentally also reflects the author's creative spirit. Its unique architecture makes it the most recognizable building on campus. Follow the snake path and you can't miss it.
9. WREN LIBRARY; CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM
Beautiful from the outside in, this 17th-century library is historically significant in both its architecture and its collection. Tour the interior and then fulfill your inner child with a peek at its special collections library, which includes A.A. Milne's hand-illustrated manuscripts of Winnie-the-Pooh.
10. LIBRARY OF STRAHOV MONASTERY; PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Be forewarned: your neck will ache after staring at the ceiling frescoes in the Strahov monastery. In addition to its ornate decor, the library holds one of the world's best collections of philosophical and theological texts thanks the monks' diligence throughout the centuries.
© VirtualTourist.com, Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.
Travel | Top 10 Architecturally Stunning Libraries