Today we visited the National Library of Russia and it is by far my new favorite library! Imagine giant old 3 story libraries with card catalogs, ladders, statues, the old book smell (think Beauty and the Beast's library!) and there you have it. I wish I could have taken photographs to prove how awesome it was but they wouldn't allow it in most parts of the building. Bummer. Here's some cool facts about it:
1. It started off as the Russian Imperial Library in 1795 and was the first public library in all of Russia
2. It contains stone books that are over 2,000 years old! They are mounted on the wall and you can even touch them!
3. They used to have a copy of the Guttenberg Bible but the Soviets sold it in the beginning of the 20th century
4. Catherine the Great purchased Voltaire's entire library in the18th century (mainly to get back her correspondence with him that she didn't want to be made public) and they are all on display in a separate room. Over 2,000 of his books have notes scribbled in the margins from in his own handwriting! How cool!
5. It's one of the largest libraries in Russia that is open to the public.
After our visit we all grabbed lunch at a local deli (I had grilled veggies, cabbage bread, and a delightful raspberry pastry thing) then we all went our separate ways. My room-mate Lisa wasn't feeling well so we headed back to our hotel and on the way Matt and I checked out some local book stores. Unfortunately we didn't buy any books so we ran into the 24 hour market and I grabbed pink gin and mojitos (in cans!) and he grabbed some lays crab flavored potato chips (yuck!). Now I'm back here catching up on my blog and uploading pictures. For dinner I think Lisa, Matt, Darrell, and I are going to try the Soviet Cafe. Hope it's good!