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Joanine Library 


"The Bookstore House was built between 1717 and 1728, and received the first books only after 1750".


Better known as the Johannine Library, it was built by King John V (1717-1728). It is recognised as one of the most original and spectacular baroque libraries in Europe.

It consists of three communicating rooms, entirely covered with oak shelves decorated with Chinese motifs.


Its collection gathers about 70 thousand volumes, including some of the rarest bibliographical collections. The bookshelves of the Joanine Library contain copies representative of the best produced in the cultured Europe of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

The architectural morphology of the Library, the walls about 2 meters thick and the teak door guarantee the ideal environmental conditions for such a precious collection.


The preservation of the extremely valuable collection is a fundamental and daily concern, to which contributes the fact that the shelves are made of oak wood, and that inside the Library there are two colonies of bats that help to fight the insects that attack the books.

The central nave of the Joanina Library has a structure similar to that of a chapel, in which the portrait of D. João V occupies the place of the altar.


The golden frame of the canvas mimics a curtain, which opens to display in a "splendid allegorical composition" - the king.

The Joanina Library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, making it a must for any visit to Coimbra

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