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Home > The National Library of Russia > The National Library of Russia which in May 1995 entered its third century of existence is one of the largest book repositories in the world and occupies an exceptional place in the history of Russian culture
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The National Library of Russia

The National Library of Russia which in May 1995 entered its third century of existence is one of the largest book repositories in the world and occupies an exceptional place in the history of Russian culture


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Catherine II. Engraving by Gavrila Skorodumov The National Library of Russia which in May 1995 entered its third century of existence is one of the largest book repositories in the world and occupies an exceptional place in the history of Russian culture. Founded by the Enlightener Empress Catherine 11 with a dual purpose, "for a complete collection of Russian books'' and "for general public usage", it has never deviated from its fundamental principle - accessibility at no charge. Soon after its formal opening in 1814 the library had become already a genuine seat of Russian enlightenment, a center for the cultural and scholarly life of the northern capital. Prominent statesmen and scholars, the most renowned men of learning of their time, worked within its walls: Alexander Stroganov and Alexei Olenin, Ivan Krylov and Alexander Yermolaev, Alexander Vostokov, Modest Korff and Afanasy Bychkoy, Vladimir Stasoy, Vasily Sobolshchikov, Nikolai Schilder and many others who did much to boost the authority of the national book repository and to expand its role in Russian social life. For generations of the Russian intelligentsia, the library truly did become a "second university".
Catherine II.

Engraving by Gavrila Skorodumov.

 


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