One of the most original buildings in Minsk is the National Library of Belarus. This architecturally unique, very striking structure looks like a crystal because of its shape and solid glazing. Its image is not just modern: it is more like a fantastical one, reminiscent of futuristic works that pave the way for new images and ideas for humanity.
The National Library is a symbol and treasure of the country
The National Library of the Republic of Belarus has already become a symbol of the country and its capital. The national symbolism is also reflected in other objects nearby or inside the building. Thus, in front of the building is a monument to the first printer Francis Skorina. His statements are placed on the monumental entrance to the complex: the design in the form of an open book is another important attribute. Nearby are amazing monuments to the letters of the Slavic alphabet.
The interior design of the complex meets the modern idea of beautiful and comfortable public facilities. It’s not just the architecture that’s new. The reading rooms, book depository and other rooms are designed and provided with the latest technology. Ideal humidity and temperature for books, convenient high-speed delivery mechanisms, perfectly equipped reading rooms, auditoriums and recreational areas were created.
History of the National Library
The extraordinary “diamond” is not the first prominent building to house the national library. Over a period already approaching a century, she has had several havens. One of the first (1913) was built for the three hundredth anniversary of the Russian imperial house. It housed the archaeological museum, which belonged to the archdiocese.
In 1922, the book funds amounted to several tens of thousands of copies: they were called “Belarusian State and University Library”. In the 1930s, it was housed in a purpose-built constructivist building in Belorussia. The building has been preserved, and meetings of the Council of the Republic are held there.
During the Great Patriotic War, the collection of books suffered severely: less than one-fifth of the collections remained, and rare books were taken away by the occupiers or burned. The newly restored library expanded successfully in peacetime. Since 1992 it was renamed the National Library of Belarus.
The competition for the construction of the original building, announced in 1989, led architects M. Vinogradov and V. Kramarenko to great success. Their project won. They are currently recipients of State Prizes of Belarus.
The shape of the building is very complex. There is a special geometric term for it – “rhombocubeoctahedron”. This figure is formed by 18 squares and 8 triangles. Construction began in 2002 – the project has been waiting for its time. In four years, the building was built and opened in 2006.
The interior of the library complex was decorated by the leading Belarusian architects and sculptors.
The inhabitants of the republic have a great respect for education, literature, and the arts. It is worth recalling that many leading figures not only of Belarusian, but also Russian science and culture were born and studied in Belarus. Belarus is known for its remarkable institutions of higher learning and library collections. The National Library’s consolidated electronic catalog helps users find any publication in these collections.
Structure and structure
More than 110 thousand square meters – that’s the area of the building. The book repository is spread over ten floors. 10 million. media – books, manuscripts, magazines, newspapers. There are unique collections: old books and handwritten folios. The collection of the rarest specimens is about 90 thousand, including rarities of the 14th-18th centuries.
The volumes, pamphlets, collections, and monographs collected here are written in nearly ninety languages. The collection contains sheet music, maps, and images in various media. But the funds can expand as storage for 15 million is thought out. storage units.
Twenty reading rooms – for 2,000 readers at a time. They are located on the first three floors. A thousand and a half seats make it possible to work with the electronic catalog. There are 500,000 books and other publications freely available.
The official website of the National Library of Belarus has a virtual tour of its halls
National Library Services
The functions that the building performs are very diverse: it is a large community center. There are important socio-political, cultural, educational events here. Festivals, vernissages, presentations, summits – not the whole list of special events that take place within its walls.
The library is more than just a reading room; it is a true institute for scholarly work in library science: the staff is engaged in research and publishing.
But the library itself also provides many useful services. First of all, information, for example:
- selection of literature,
- manuscript examination,
- media monitoring,
- text plagiarism check.
The large complex constantly serves as a venue for topical conferences, seminars, exhibitions and even displays of art objects. One of the most recent is Acoustic Mirrors. In the future, an alley of nearly two dozen artifacts will be created next to the Belarusian National Library building.
Art galleries are pleased with the variety of expositions. There are several of them here – “Atrium”, “Labyrinth”, “Mobile”, “Racurs”, “Panorama”. They can be accessed during library business hours, and only Panorama is open to the public on the observation deck schedule.
For those who want to have lunch, there are several cafes and a restaurant here in the building. There are hardly many libraries that boast a complex for physical education, children’s activities, a winter garden and special equipment for people with disabilities. The National Library of Belarus has it all.
Tour program at the National Library of Belarus
Minsk provides a great opportunity to visit this unique building to guests of the city, as well as residents who do not use book collections. The schedule for visiting the attraction is special for tourists.
Guidebooks include this site among the most interesting places in Minsk. The building also looks wonderful at night – it has original lighting that changes the color and direction of the lights, creating a festive and ornate image. For a country with large dark winters, such a light source is not just an advertising medium, but rather a way to make life brighter and more fun.
An elevator takes tourists up to the 23rd floor of the national library. The view from the observation deck is wonderful. From above, you can see the new neighborhoods and wooded areas: this is natural, since the library is not far from the Moscow Ring Road. The views are modern, very picturesque and attractive.
Of course, the city center is far away, but don’t feel bad about it. You can see the Stalin Empire and Troitskoye Suburb later: it is worth noting that any monument of architecture in the republic is preserved and restored very carefully.
And to feel the livability of the entire city, looking from a height of 73 meters, is no less pleasant. The building was built near the central highway of Minsk, Independence Avenue. It is surrounded by a large park area.
The panorama is worth seeing in detail: the site is equipped with binoculars.
The observation deck is open daily (without days off) from 12 to 23 hours. You can go upstairs until 10:30 p.m. Box office hours: 12 to 10:30 p.m. (small technical breaks of 15 minutes at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m.). By the way, there is not only an open area, but also an enclosed area for viewing. The entrance for tourists is on the back side of the building.
Museum of the Book
This museum has Monday off and Sunday from June 1 to August 31. Schedule of work by day:
- 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday;
- 10.30 – 19.00 – Thursday, Sunday (Monday – summer).
The museum showcases the real curiosities of bookmaking, from immovable folios to miniatures that can only be viewed with a magnifying glass in hand. Here you can see manuscripts from Tibet, Japan and other countries. And also learn interesting facts about the history of printing and about the library itself. Curiously, the ratings that include her building are rather conventional in reflecting the cultural identity and high functionality of the complex.
If desired, tourists go not only to the Book Museum, but also walk with a guide through the library halls. Registration for the tour is by individual and collective applications. Visitors are taken around the interior daily at 12, 3, and 5 (6) p.m., except on Mondays. From June 1 to August 31 the day off is Sunday. Collective applications are submitted one month in advance.
The address of the National Library and the cost of admission
The library is located at: Minsk, Independence Avenue (in Belarusian – Prospekt Nezalezhnasci), 116. Finding it on the map is easy: it is located northeast of the city center, closer to the ring road.
The last Monday of each month the library is closed – sanitary day. Mode of operation of the National Library of the Republic of Belarus: daily from 10.00, closed Monday through Friday at 21.00, and Saturday and Sunday at 18.00. It is important to remember that there is a schedule for tours and visits to the observation deck.
- The cost of visiting the observation deck is 3.5 Bel. rubles.
- The maximum cost of the tour for a group with a tour of the Round Hall (in Russian) is 90 Bel. rubles.
- There are other options, the price of which is much less – from 1, 47 bel. rubles.
How to get there?
Those who go by car or cab do not need tips: the building is very conspicuous, it is recognized not by address, but simply by its appearance. For those who take the subway, get off at the “Vostok” (“Ushod”) station. More than a dozen ground transportation routes stop nearby: trolleybuses 41 and 42, buses 25, 27, 91, 95, 113, 991 and others.