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Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Library Worth A Trip

Above the entrance to St Gallen Abbey Library, one of the oldest of its kind, is a Greek inscription which translates into English as "pharmacy of the soul". The monks who founded the library considered books as medicine for the spirit. The 150,000 strong collection, now part of a Unesco World Heritage site, continues to inspire visitors and scholars today. The visitor is immediately struck by two things – the vast quantity of books and the beauty of the room. Remodelled in the 18th century, using the monastery's own craftsmen, the library is a heady mix of rich woodwork, ceiling paintings and stucco. The whole room – even on a rainy day - is illuminated by light from 34 windows. It is said to be one of the most beautiful Baroque libraries in existence. Only 30,000 of the library's collection – books and manuscripts – can be seen. Some volumes are considered simply too precious to be shown in public.

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