Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bibliotheque Humaniste - Selestat

Since it was such a lovely day, we decided to walk into Selestat to visit the town's most famous attraction, the Bibliotheque Humaniste. If you are not familiar with the library it will help to read the Wikipedia article that the link points to.

The library is on the second floor (US) first floor (English & Oz). As you go up the stairs, you see this odd coffin thing below.

Inside the library. To be honest, I was not overly impressed with the architecture.

A scale model of Selestat in the time of Beatus Rhenanus, the original collector of the books. What surprised me was that most of the houses at the time were individual stand alone houses. Now they are mostly all attached to each other.

What you come here for is to gaze at the books, some of which date back to the 7th century. I think this is the book that first records the use of 'America'.

Even though they had blinds over the windows, the light was very strong. I presume they pull the red material over the books while the museum is closed to protect them from the sunlight. There are temperature and humidity sensors scattered around.

Click on this and take a look at the right hand page to see a stylized map of Europe in the shape of a woman. It's really quite clever.

To be honest, this museum was not my favourite. Unfortunately, I don't read Latin because they stopped offering it at my school and made us take geography instead. Yes, I can appreciate that the books are old, but if I can't read them them I am not too interested. Pearls before swine, I suppose you can say with some justification.

1 comment:

  1. I used to work in the library in my hometown in Belgium. Those old books are so frail that they do need climatized rooms. In kortrijk, the books are not even out to see for the public. You have to make an appointment and then put on the white gloves if you want to browse a couple while they watch you like hawks... I am a bit like you, I would like to touch and sniff them...