For anyone out there who loves A) Disney princess films, and B) books, anywhere near as much as I do, you'll likely be familiar with the dreamy bookshelves as seen in Beauty and the Beast. These phenomenal artefacts appear in the Beast's ballroom where he woos Disney’s bookworm princess, Belle... I suspect the massive shelves helped his cause. Awe-inspiring. Breath-taking. The stuff of legends. Literally drool-inducing. Just in case you can’t picture them, I’m talking about these...
And before you roll your eyes and tell me that these only exist in a cartoon, allow me to be the bearer of good news. They exist in the real world! That's right, I've found them, and guys... They're glorious.
For any of you that follow me on Instagram you'll know I'm kind of a book geek (NB: understatement) and that book shops and libraries are my happy places. So when I arrived in Vienna this past weekend and checked out a map which listed the city's main attractions, the National Bibliothek - or Austrian National Library - naturally jumped off the page.
It wasn't too hard to convince my long suffering boyfriend to accompany me to yet another book centre in a foreign city, and so about half an hour after learning of its existence, off I went - Jesse in tow - to find it. I expected to like it, I thought I may even love it (happens often) but I didn't expect to witness something I thought existed only in my dreams / the wonderful world of Disney.
The impressive State Hall of the Austrian National Library was built in 1723, and the library houses one of the world's most extensive collections of ancient written works, with around 7.4 million documents, the oldest of which date back to the 14th Century, and the majority of which are collected from the widest reaches and furthermost corners of the world. S.W.O.O.N.
While a lot of the older works are kept in special, highly monitored chambers to keep the delicate parchment in an ideal environment and safely intact, the State Hall displays exact replicas of some of the most impressive works, as well as housing ceiling-to-floor shelves of Victorian books, and featuring arguably the most impressive fresco dome ceiling I have ever seen. Words really do fail me here, so I will leave you with my pictures, which give what I can only confess is a poor representation of a truly stunning place. I urge you all to visit Vienna's National Bibliothek if you ever have the chance... All I can say is it’s unlike anything I've ever seen, and I’ll count myself lucky to ever find another place anywhere near this magical.