Amazing Libraries Around The World – Abbey Library of Saint Gall, Switzerland
The Abbey Library of Saint Gall was founded by Saint Othmar, the founder of the Abbey of St. Gall. The library collection is the oldest in Switzerland, and is one of earliest and most important monastic libraries in the world. It holds 2,100 manuscripts dating back to the 8th through the 15th centuries, 1,650 incunabula (printed before 1500), and old printed books. The library holds almost 160,000 volumes. The manuscript B of the Nibelungenlied is kept here. The library books are available for public use, but the books printed before 1900 must be read in the Reading Room.
The library hall, designed by the architect Peter Thumb in a Rococo style, is considered the most beautiful non-sacred room of this style in Switzerland and one of the most perfect library rooms around the world. In 1983 the library together with the Abbey of St. Gall were made a World Heritage Site, as ‘a perfect example of a great Carolingian monastery’. A virtual library was created to provide access to the manuscripts — Codices Electronici Sangallenses. Currently 400 manuscripts are preserved in digital format.