This Manchester library has been rated one of the most beautiful in Europe

A list of the top 10 most beautiful libraries in Europe has been revealed, including five modern and five old-school, that are a must-see at least once in a lifetime.

Collecting data from Google reviews, holiday rental site Holidu has compiled the literary bucket list, and Manchester’s John Rylands takes the number one spot for old-school libraries.

John Rylands is the only library in the UK to make the list, sitting alongside stunning libraries in Vienna, Kelsinki, Warsaw, Paris, Copenhagen, Stuttgart, Admont, Venice and Paris.

John Rylands Library. Photo: GEM via Flickr

John Rylands Library in Manchester was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her late husband. In 1889, the architect Basil Champneys designed the sumptuous neo-Gothic building, which took 10 years to build.

With a catalogue of 1.4 million items, the library houses an extensive selection of books, which also includes many special collections.

The library has earned an average Google review of 4.8 stars out of 466 reviews.

John Rylands Library. Photo: Magnus D2 via Flicker

The Google reviews say that the Reading Room, with its high columns and vaulted ceiling complete with intricate decorations, provides the perfect photo backdrop when visiting this iconic building.

Other old-school libraries that made the top five includes Stiftsbibliothek Admont in Austria, the oldest monastery library in the world, at number two; and the Kloster Wiblingen in Ulm, Germany at number three, which is a classic example of Rococo art.

Photo: Biblitoeca Marciana Venezia

The Biblitoeca Marciana in Venice, which contains one of the most important collections of Greek, Latin and Oriental manuscripts in the world, makes number four on the list; and the beautiful Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris, which was completed in 1850, is at number five.

The futuristic six-storey Wirtschaftsuniversität Bibliothek in Vienna has been voted the most beautiful of the modern libraries, while Warsaw University Library comes in at number two.

Wirtschaftsuniversität Bibliothek. Photo: WU Wien

The beauty of Warsaw’s building has earned the library numerous awards: the entire external structure is in patinated copper and the greenhouse-like building blends with the vegetation which climbs up the exterior towards the roof garden.

The rest of the modern must-see list includes the Royal Library in Copenhagen, also known as the “black diamond” and built in 1999; Central Library Oodi in Helsinki, an eco-sustainable design which from some angles makes the building look like a set of waves and, from others, a real ship; and Stadtbibliothek am Mailänder Platz in Stuttgart, the “big white cube” which opened in 2011.


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