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Luxury Royal Library in Rio de Janeiro

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Libraries are often called the temple of science. For some it sounds too pathetic, but the elegant grandeur of the Brazilian Library Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura ( Royal Portuguese Reading Room ) will certainly admire you. The Royal reading room was built in the years 1880-1887 by the architect Rafael da Silva e Castro. Today, the library has the largest collection of Portuguese literature, more than 350 thousand books in total.

Royal Portuguese Reading Room in Rio de Janeiro

Royal Portuguese Reading Room

Royal Portuguese Reading Room 

Rafael da Silva e Castro designed a real temple with nave, apse, stained-glass dome, arcaded galleries and many small chapels, in which this time not sculpted and painted images of saints, but bookshelves with thousands and thousands of books took place. Carved white stone facade was patterned with fretwork by Simões de Almeida, and interior of the temple experienced the influence of Empire.

In 1900 Gabinete Português de Leitura became open public library, and in 1906 it received the “Royal”  status from the Portuguese King Carlos.

The library is located in Rio de Janeiro. In the English-speaking sources it is also called Royal Portuguese Reading Room or the Royal Cabinet. In addition to valuable collection of publications in Portuguese, the library building is an architectural masterpiece. The reading room is decorated in the style of neomanuelino ( Portuguese architectural style that combines elements from late Gothic and Renaissance). This style of architecture flourished in the Age of Discovery.

Light facade was built of limestone, whose production was carried out in Lisbon. Materials were transported to Rio de Janeiro. Gilded fittings are used in the interior. Shelving made ​​of precious wood, all this gives a luxurious and aristocratic look. A forged chandelier is located high above the desks. There are several statues indoors. Medallions adorn the walls.

Architectural ensemble is complemented by the massive doors, spiral columns (a kind of “nod” to ship ropes, symbol of Portuguese navigators), decorative arches. Portuguese Library in Rio de Janeiro is a wonderful place that is perfect for study or just to take a virtual tour in the last century, to enjoy the quiet beauty and grandeur of human genius.

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Alicia Kim

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