Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid

Another highlight building passed many times and even played at Plaza Colon since youth is the Biblioteca Nacional de España or National Library of Spain ,right on Paseo de Recoletos just below the Plaza Colon.

The official webpage is here: http://www.bne.es/en/Inicio/index.html

To read the books here you need a batch and authorization but there is plenty of areas where you can have a guided tour. The Exhibition Rooms and the Library Museum, where various exhibitions and cultural activities are held, are open to all.

The library was founded by King Philip (Felipe) V of Spain in 1712 as the Palace Public Library (Biblioteca Pública de Palacio). All publications done in Spain needed to deposit a copy here first. In 1836, the library’s status as Crown property was revoked and ownership was transferred to the Ministry of Governance (Ministerio de la Gobernación). At the same time, it was renamed the Biblioteca Nacional.

The collections started with the king Felipe IV and V, and continue with requisition of others losers in the wars of succession and other private donations by nobles. By 1761, the library starts printing books and manuscripts as well. It continues to add books by taken over the closed out convents and private collections due to wars or disputes, and the Court of Cadiz in 1814. In 1836 the Royal Library change name to the National Library.

The library due to wars and conflicts changes place several times. First, in  1809,under the occupation of Joseph Bonaparte it is located at the Convent of the Order of Trinitarians in calle Atocha. By 1819, it changes place again,  and is located a the Council where the sessions of the admiralty are held to avoid reclamation of rights by the Trinitarians after the return to power of king Fernando VII. Again, in 1826 it moved again to the old residence of the Marquis of Alcañices during the 19C , in what it is today the Calle Arrieta.

In 1866 the Queen Isabel II throws the first stone to the building Archieves Palace, library and museum at the Paseo de Recoletos site. The building is finally done in 1892, and it is open to the public in 1896.

By the law of 1901, the library takes charge of all libraries in Spain. By 1930, a national council is created to handle all matters of libraries in Spain.  During the Spanish Civil War, the library is closed and the precious cargo is taken to the Serranos Tower in the province of Valencia.

Advances and laws thereafter, the library suffered minimum if no damaged from the civil  war. By a Royal decree in 1985, all the different services and institution linked to publishing were integrated in the National Library , and the BNE  (Spanish National Library in Spanish form) is declare the superior library institution of the State and chief of the Spanish system of libraries! In 1996, the internet is open to the BNE! And since 1982, there is an additional site in Alcalà de Henares.

There are several rooms in the National Library including a open Museum which we took advantage this time. More on it from the tourist office of Madrid in English here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/biblioteca-nacional

The museum has free admission with different thematic areas and the Venezia expo going on right now.  More info on the vast information available is here: http://www.bne.es/en/MuseoBibliotecaNacional/ConoceMuseo/index.html

More from the tourist office of Madrid on the museum here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-de-la-biblioteca-nacional

Just behind the Library is the Calle Serrano a chic fashion street that takes you to the Puerta de Alcalà gate, and crossing the street to the parque del buen Retiro park. Up street on Alcalà you can see the statue of Espartadero and onwards to my old living area in Calle Alcalà!

Enjoy the learning place of Spain, the National Library. Cheers!

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