St. Petersburg Travel Guide

St. Petersburg Sights

Russian National Library (Rossiiskaya Natsionalnaya Biblioteka)

  • 18 ul. Sadovaya Map It
  • City Center
  • Library/Archive

Published 01/04/2016

Fodor's Review

Opened in 1814, Russia's first public library is still known fondly as the "Publichka." It holds more than 20 million books and claims to have a copy of every book ever printed in Russia. Among the treasures are Voltaire's library and the only copy of Chasovnik (1565), the second book printed in Russia. The main section, on the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and ulitsa Sadovaya, was designed by Yegor Sokolov and built between 1796 and 1801. Another wing, built between 1828 and 1832, was designed by Carlo Rossi as an integral part of Ploshchad Ostrovskovo. The facade is adorned with statues of philosophers and poets, including Homer and Virgil, and the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva. Using the library requires a passport, registration note (a note from a hotel, in the case of tourists), and two photos, which can be taken during the registration in the library. You may be able to get in for a quick look if you show your passport and ask nicely.

Sight Information


18 ul. Sadovaya, St. Petersburg, St.-Petersburg, 191069, Russia

Map It




Sight Details:

  • Weekdays 9–9, weekends 11–7; closed last Tues. of month

Published 01/04/2016


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