Bookshelf of the Week: Reading room of the Szabo Ervin Library

For this week’s Bookshelf of the Week we return to sublime historical workmanship; to the kind of place that I’m sure every reader would love to whittle away a day lifetime or two of reading.

This is a reading room of the Szabo Ervin Library in Budapest, Hungary. It was formerly the smoking room of Wenckheim Palace, the nineteenth-century residence of Count Frigyes Wenckheim (1842 – 1912), before ownership of the palace eventually passed over to the City Council in 1927, when it was converted and opened in 1931 as Budapest’s Central Library.

Much of the interior decor has been preserved intact including of course Wenckheim’s smoking room, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s not every day that one gets the opportunity of preserving and utilising such incredible arhitectural features; the sumptuous panelling, that extraordinary spiral staircase (HERE’S a better shot) leading to the equally extraordinary mezzanine, and all topped off nicely with that amazing decorative ceiling. Lined with all of the bookshelves (which I’m not sure are originally part of the smoking room or were installed during its twentieth-century conversion), it’s a bibliophile’s dream come true :o)

I discovered this shot via the Curious Expeditions website, so full credit for this shot goes to them (they have a full set of the library on Flickr if you care to view it). If you haven’t visited Curious Expeditions (or better still subscribed to their RSS feed), then I heartily recommend that you do. It’s a website that specialises in showcasing extraordinary curios and there’s no finer place on the Internet (aside from RobAroundBooks of course :o)), to spend a bit of time exploring.

Oh and finally. If you think the interior of the Szabo Ervin Library is something special to behold, wait until you see it from the outside. Speechless!

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).