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The National Library of Belarus – What a Building!

The National Library of Belarus is one of the most interesting buildings in the Belarussian capital Minsk. What is this for a place and should you pay it a visit?

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What did I see from the window in the taxi?

Already in the cab from the airport, I saw this strange building. Initially, I couldn’t decide if it was an architectural remain from the Soviet era or a modern building. Andrei, the taxi driver, repeated the word “big” and pointed at the direction of the library when we drove by. I felt I needed to look closer to this building some other day…

Get to the National Library of Belarus


Minsk is a car-friendly city with wide streets and many lanes, but also the metro work flawless. There are two metro stations close to the library. The closest one is Маскоўская (only some meters differ though). The second you can use is the next stop Усход. Trams and buses stop right outside the building, or in reality, the huge square in front.national-library-of-belarus-3

Minsk was hidden in fog

On this day, at my visit, Minsk and even the rest of Belarus was hidden in fog. For the first, I couldn’t get any pictures from distance. It was sad. I walked from the metro station Маскоўская, which in clear weather, would let me see an amazing view with the library, parks, and the river. Maybe next time.national-library-of-belarus-4

About the National Library of Belarus

A national library is of course filled with books. In this library, you find the largest collection of printed materials in Belarusian and the third largest collection in the world with materials printed in Russian.

Height 73,6 m
Floors 23
Opened 16th June 2006
Area 100.000 square meters
Weight (without books and interior) 140.000 tones (14 x more than the Eifel Tower)
Items Around 10 million

The construction started in 2002. At most, 3000 people worked 24/7 at the construction place and the library opened officially in 2006 at a ceremony by the Belarussian president.national-library-of-belarus-5

In front of the library, we see Frantsisk Skorina, who was a printing pioneer from Belarus.

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Frantsisk Skorina as a bronze sculpture.

The main entrance will mediate the illusion of an open book. We also see 19 quotes in 19 languages which encourage people to read and learn and the 20 readings hall inside the library makes it possible.

Other facilities at the National Library of Belarus

The library is more than just a library. Inside there is a big and modern center for international meetings.

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That fog again…

And for tourists, one of the main attractions is the observation deck. Due to the fog, I skipped this part. But the observation deck is located on the backside of the building. On the way up to the 23rd floor, you can stop at the café on the 20th floor and have a coffee break with a nice view over Minsk.

The library is designed to house 14 million objects, so there is still room for improvements.

In the research, I found two unverified facts which I present here:

  • The National Library of Belarus was sponsored by Saddam Hussein with 500.000 dollars.
  • More than 2.200 people visit the library daily.

What do you think?

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