Best Libraries In The World

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Best Libraries In The World

“I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” Jose Luis Borges

Libraries are not just stern places where loud conversations – even accidentally – are greeted with cut-throat looks from the opposite side of the reading table. Libraries are full of stories and anecdotes waiting to be uncovered. Their architecture and interiors are often unexpected and sometimes even astonishing.

 National Library, Beijing, China

The National Library of China is the largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world  What makes it even more special? Its collection of cultural and historical literature is vast with more than 24 million books. If you’re not after literature or a place to read, then its collection of manuscripts and inscriptions may tempt you. Among its collections are manuscripts from Song, Shang, and Ming dynasties, stone tablets known as Xiping Stone Classics, tortoise shell inscriptions, and many ancient Chinese writings.

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland

Founded in 1592, Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland. Built between 1712 and 1732 the Old Library is the University’s earliest surviving building. The library houses Ireland’s National Treasure which is the Book Of Kells sacred manuscript created by Celtic Monks in about 800 AD which features the Four Gospels of the New Testament. It is decorated with metallic gold Celtic style writing, symbols and stunning artwork. Walking through the doors of the Long Room is suddenly overwhelming. IT is a 65 meter long gallery housing about 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books under a jaw-dropping barrel-vaulted ceiling.The weather being famously unpredictable in Dublin makes the library is a great place to stay dry.

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This is Brazil’s most important library, a Neoclassical treasure trove chronicling the country’s history in more than nine million items. A highlight is the Teresa Cristina Maria collection: a 22,000-strong photo series, depicting key Brazilian events and notables. 

Joanine Library at University Of Coimbre, Coimbre, Portugal

Coimbra’s university, founded in 1290, is Portugal’s oldest and most distinguished university. The Baroque library was built between 1717 – 1728 and houses about 40,000 books which are – in part – protected by bats (bats eat moths). It is really impressive  The library is a Portuguese National Monument and is one of the oldest of the university.

Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève, Paris, France

Located opposite the Pantheon is the historic public library Sainte Genevieve. The steps have become somewhat famous after Woody Allen chose this location for his film Midnight In Paris.The vast collection of the Abbey  Saint Genevieve was in need of a home and it took seven years of construction in 1839 by architect Henri Labrouste. The public university library now holds around two million books and documents and the magnificent cast iron ceiling of the two story reading room is breathtaking.

National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic

The National Library of the Czech Republic is part of the Clementinum, a massive complex of historical buildings that also holds the Astronomical Tower (a weather center since 1775) and the Mirror Chapel, a popular setting for classical music concerts. Regularly named one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, this Baroque marvel dates back to 1722. this The largest hall of the library is also the most impressive. Featuring a balcony with a highly ornate railing and stairs, the Library Hall is decorated in rich golds, mahogany woods, and ceiling frescoes by Jan Hiebl. The beauty is in the original details: the labels on the bookcases have been there since the 1700s and none of the features (including floors or wood trims) have been replaced since the library’s creation.The Library Hall is also home to some of the oldest books in Europe.

The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Royal Copenhagen Library known as the Black Diamond juts over the canal. The interior boasts a huge ceiling fresco and canal views. The permanent exhibition, Treasures in The Royal Library, currently includes a Gutenberg bible, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s notes, and Hans Christian Andersen’s diary.

Bibleoteca Vasconcelos, Mexico City, Mexico

This library was designed by Alberto Kalach and the construction was completed in 2007. Inside, instead of plain white walls and carpet, you’ll see transparent walls, mismatches floors, balconies and pathways, and books, lots and lots of books.

 The Library Of  Alexandria, Alexandria,  Egypt

The ancient library of Alexandria was built by the order of Ptolemy ll in the third century BC. It contained 700,000 books and was the greatest library in the world at that time. This was the first public governmental library in history. Any scholar such as Archimedes who studies in the library of Alexandria had to leave a copy of his writings in the library. This was one of the reasons the library was rich with books, researchers, and studies that were contemporary at the time. There were many theories as to how the library burned -one was that it was Julius Caesar. Centuries later, Hosny Mubarak made an international architectural design competition to build a library on that site.  The prize was sixty thousand American dollars which was won by Snohetta, a Norwegian architectural firm. The oval shape of the library from outside is a symbol of the continuity of life. The library is surrounded by a great wall that was made out of Aswan Granite and it contains writing and inscriptions in 120 languages. The objective of the new library is the same objective of the old library: to act as a public research library and to support the people of the Arab world and the Middle East to retain their old position as scholars and researchers in different fields of science.

NY Public Library, NY, USA

The New York Public Library  which opened in 1911  by combining the collections of the Astor and Lenox Libraries with a $2.4 million trust from Samuel J. Tilden that was given to, “establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York.”It was the largest marble building in the United States and  home to over one million books.The Beaux Artes building is located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd St. Two stone lions guard the entrance. Though originally named Astor and Lennox,  Mayor Fiorello La Guardia renamed them Patience and Fortitude during the Great Depression.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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Ten Countries With The Worst Air Pollution

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Ten Countries With The Worst Air Pollution

“I’m always amazed at the human capacity to not make fundamental changes, but instead merely adapt. I see these pictures of people in Beijing and New Delhi, walking around with masks on, because you can’t walk outside your house and breathe? If you can’t breathe?…If that’s not the cue to make a fundamental change, I don’t know what is!” Bill Maher

Every country these days has bad air pollution. Cities are usually worse than rural areas. China is famous for terrible air pollution but they are trying to be better. Here are the top countries for air pollution.

1.The World Bank says Pakistan’s air pollution is the most severe in the world.
The harm caused by air pollution in Pakistan’s urban areas exceeds most other high-profile causes of mortality in the country, including traffic-related accidents. Declining government attention to air quality leads to weak implementation of environmental policies.

2. Air pollution in Qatar vastly exceeds safe limits and is damaging the health of the population. It can be explained in part to the country’s building boom, vehicle exhausts, smelting plants and the burning of organic materials.

3. Along with all the other problems, walking the streets of Kabul is a health risk. Thick columns of smoke from ovens and factories and bumper-to-bumper vehicles producing harmful gases create various types of respiratory disease. No city in Afghanistan has a proper and technical management of solid waste. They are dumping waste in valleys and open fields, which is extremely dangerous not only in polluting the air, but also for underwater pollution. Three to five thousand people a year die of air pollution related illnesses In Afghanistan.

4. Air pollution kills fifteen thousand Bangladeshis a year according to the World Bank. Large numbers of children, street children, local street-walkers, and rickshaw pullers in Bangladesh are at particular risk from this air pollution. According to this report, there are two major sources of air pollution in Bangladesh, vehicular emissions, and industrial emissions. These are mainly concentrated in the cities. Dhaka is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with an estimated population of more than 8 million. Air pollution has emerged as an acute problem in the city. Blackening of the city air and reduced visibility can be observed at times.

5. There is a black cloud over Cairo, Egypt. The smog is  caused by farmers piling up rice straw and burning it, because they lack the means to transfer the rice straw from their fields to recycling centres. Millions of cars prowl the traffic-clogged streets, while a thousand factories belch smoke into the air. On a bad day, the smog in Cairo and the Delta cities is unbearable.

6. The United Arab Emirates has air that is a bit worse than China and twice as bad as India. Cement manufacturing, power generation, desalination and cars all add to its pollution. But one of the biggest contributors in the region is dust made of sand, kicked up by construction or windstorms. The combination is lethal.

7. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is the world’s coldest capital. One third of the people live below the poverty line and burn coal for warmth. The toxic fumes make air pollution worse than Beijing. Children and old people are affected the worst but the government does not see it as a priority.

8. India’s cities are consistently ranked among the world’s worst polluted cities. Sometimes the air quality numbers are worse than the highest number in the world pollution index. More than 2.5 million premature deaths in India last year were attributed to air pollution. Crop burning, diesel fuel, dust, wild fires and coal all contribute to the increasingly polluted air.

9. Bahrain is another unhealthy country for breathing. Diesel car exhausts , factory fumes and dust storms contribute to particles in the lungs. It is a wealthy country and not heavily populated and should be doing more to correct this.

10. The pollution from Katmandu floats toward the Himalayas. Nepal has become one of the worst countries for air pollution due to car emissions, brush fires, burn farming, brick kilns, and cooking stoves. The black carbon emissions are affecting the nearby glaciers in the Himalayas which affects the water supply for that region.

Other countries with high levels of air pollution include Ghana, Jordan, China, Senegal, Turkey Bulgaria, Mauritius, Peru and Serbia .

Fly safe,
JAZ