National Library of Latvia, Riga

4.2
#33 of 363 in Things to do in Riga
The National Library of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Nacionālā bibliotēka), also known as Castle of Light (Gaismas pils), is a national cultural institution under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture of Latvia. The National Library of Latvia was formed in 1919 after the independent Republic of Latvia was proclaimed in 1918. The first supervisor of the Library was Jānis Misiņš, a librarian and the founder of the Latvian scientific bibliography (1862–1945).

The current building was designed in 1989 by noted Latvian-American architect Gunnar Birkerts (1925-2017), who emigrated to the United States and made his career there. It was constructed in the early 21st century and opened in 2014. Today the Library plays an important role in the development of Latvia's information society, providing Internet access to residents and supporting research and lifelong education.
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National Library of Latvia Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
501 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • If you are strolling alongside the river in the old city, you cannot miss this elegant structure. Take the tram to the other side and enter the building. It ha a very nice restaurant with terrace and....  more »
  • An interesting building, but for non-Latvian readers there didn’t seem much to do once inside apart from a small but interesting exhibition on how the library came to be, or a visit to the vegan...  more »
Google
  • We were surprised when we got to this place. The library is made of glass and looks interesting but strange. But inside it is fantastic. It's modern, clean and bright. There are some free interesting exhibitions dedicated to the history of books
  • It's perhaps the THE best place in Riga, particularly if you are a book and culture lover. I can hang out forever here. The service is excellent and free. It's all glass, steel, and solid wooden furniture decked all in with books, housed in a magnificent architectural work of Gunnar Birkerts. The audio visual hall has a fine collection of movies which you can watch in isolated rooms. There's a cafe. Check the opening times though, sometimes it changes for a state visit or so.

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