As one of the most important libraries in the world, the Austrian National Library captivates with its inventory of historical books. Time seems to stand still when you are in its magnificent Baroque State Hall, which has a dome that is 30 metres high. The interior boasts dark nutwood and rich gold ornamentation. Today, your footsteps still echo when you are walking across the historical stone floor, as in imperial times.
In the 18th century, the library was built in the Imperial Residence of the Hofburg under Emperor Charles VI. This is why there is also a statue of him in the centre of the State Hall.
Valuable book collection
The extensive book treasury of the Imperial Library consists of around 200,000 books from the 16th to the 19th century. It comprises:
- Collections from the Habsburgs
- Purchases from other libraries and book markets
- Donations and statutory copies
- Purchases of newer literature.
The personal library of Prince Eugene is especially worth seeing: 15,000 volumes bound in Morocco leather were purchased after the death of the great general and book collector. There are also marble statues by the Strudel brothers and allegorical frescos to see in the so-called “War and Peace” wing.
The State Hall: Imperial architecture
The State Hall is 77.7 metres long and 14.2 metres wide. It consists of two naves and one central avant-corps. The oval dome, which is around 30 metres high, is particularly impressive. All eyes are drawn to the splendid dome fresco by Daniel Gran. Other frescos in the entrance and back wings deal with the themes of war and peace as well as heaven and earth.
360-degree view of the State Hall:
Guided tours with and without advance booking
Duration of State Hall tour: 45 minutes
Public tours without advance booking: A public tour takes place in the State Hall every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. No advance booking is necessary. The Baroque Augustinian Reading Room (with ceiling frescos by Johann Baptist Wenzel Bergl) can be viewed every second Wednesday of the month at 4:00 p.m.
Special and private tours are available for individuals and groups from 10 people – in numerous languages. You can pre-book these directly at the Austrian National Library.
How to reach the State Hall of the Austrian National Library
Address: Josefsplatz 1, 1015 Vienna
Public transport: Tram lines 1, 2, 71, D – station “Burgring”