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Joanina Library

Aliquam ultricies pretium
28 Abril, 2014
Côa Valley
22 Julho, 2018


Dating back to the eighteenth century, the Joanina Library is located in the Schools’ Courtyard of the University of Coimbra, and it’s recognized as one of the most original and spectacular Baroque libraries. Its name honors and comes from the portuguese king who had it erected, King John V (1707 – 1750). Built on a medieval prison, which later became an academic prison, nowadays the Joanina Library still allows access to the underground, which can be visited. In 2013, the British newspaper The Telegraph considered the Joanina Library as "the most spectacular in the world." In the same way, the ranking produced by the portal Flavorwire and international guide Flavorpill, of New York, published by the literary editor Emily Temple, considered the Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra the most beautiful in the world, among the 25 most beautiful university libraries in the world (Oxford, Cambridge, Chicago and Washington, Boston, Rome, among others). This distinction has put the Portuguese Baroque library above other renowned institutions such as Yale University (USA) and the University of Salamanca (Spain), which were second and third in the rankings, respectively. Along with its beauty, the Joanina Library houses a collection of absolutely rare and ancient books and is an example of financial, cultural and intellectual wealth of the portuguese empire in the eighteenth century, when the library was built. In the Joanina Library are copies of immeasurable importance and grandiosity, such as a first edition of Os Lusíadas, a Hebrew Bible, published in the second half of the fifteenth century, that there are only about 20 copies around the world, or the Latin Bible of the 48 lines - so called because it has exactly 48 lines per page, printed in 1462 by two partners of Gutenberg, considered the most beautiful of the first four printed bibles. In its important process of conservation are employed traditional solutions of preservation and environmental control, most notably the use of oak wood on their shelves, the thickness of the walls, with about 2 meters, and the existence of a colony of bats that protects the library of the insects. (At night, after the library closing, the colony of bats contributes to good maintenance of books thru eating the insects. The tables are covered with skins that protect them from the waste of the animals.) The gold you see in its decor came from Minas Gerais, Brazil; the wood is African, Eastern and Brazilian. The existing pulpit in the chapel was where the priest António Vieira gave his last speech before he was arrested by the Inquisition. The Joanina Library is part of the University of Coimbra Alta and Sofia, classified by UNESCO as a WORLD HERITAGE.

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