A couple of days ago I had the chance to visit the Austrian National Library with my camera, the Canon 5D Mark III. As I entered the luxurious grand hall of the library I was absolutely flabbergasted. I didn’t know what I or my camera should focus on first. In every corner there were meters of historical volumes with leather covers one on another. Colorful illustrations with golden ornaments were displayed and fascinated me. Ancient globes were spread all over the rooms and gigantic marble statues put the perfect finishing touch to the hall. High ladders, which still stand in between the shelves, helped people get to the books on top of the shelves. In the past the grand hall was the imperial court library and nowadays it counts among the most beautiful library halls in the world.
The Library has more than 12 million objects, which include 4 million book volumes. The rest is made up of eight special collections such as the globe or the papyrus collection. Most globes can be found in another room, which now serves as the Globe Museum, however, I could also catch a glimpse of some in the grand hall and take some pictures.
I found out that the Austrian National Library collects everything that gets published in Austria: starting from a book to an election poster. Every year its stock increases by approximately 700 meters of shelves! Hard to imagine, if you ask me. The oldest object of the library is the Book of the Dead by Sesostris in the Papyrus Museum, dating back to the 15th century B.C.
Many secrets can be found behind the old walls. Behind the bookshelves of the grand hall there are altogether twelve hidden chambers. In the past they served as study rooms for the librarians and because of their layout they are called the Star Rooms. The exquisite ceiling also bears a secret. Shortly after the construction of the Grand Hall between 1723 and 1726, the dome was about to collapse because of poorly calculated static. To keep it fixed together, a ring of metal struts was inserted. A crack in the ceiling reminds us of that incident even today.
I hope you like the pictures of this photo walk as much as I do! I enjoyed documenting these magnificent rooms and learning about the thrilling details of this wonderful library.
PS: While telling you all these facts I totally forgot to say which lens I was using this time – my companion was the SIGMA 24-70 mm F2. 8 EX DG HSM!