Latvian National Library, closed until 7.12.2020
Already in 1928, the necessity of constructing a special building to hold the Latvian National Library was discussed. However, only in 1988 was the decision made for its construction on the left side of the Daugava River – between the Akmens and Dzelzceļš bridges.
The project was designed by architects Modris Ģelzis (1929-2009) and Gunārs Birkerts (1925-2017). After many hurdles, including the 2008 to 2010 economic crisis, the building finally opened its doors in 2014. The library has since become an important cultural center. The library itself features a collection of over four million units of books. Special collections are also available to readers, including rare books, art, music recordings, historical images, maps etc. In the first half of 2015, the building also hosted many official events in connection with Latvia’s presidency of the European Union Council. The Latvian National Library building hosts exhibitions, seminars, conferences and other cultural events on a regular basis. Meanwhile, the young generation of skateboarders enjoy practicing their skills outside the library building.
The Latvian National Library quickly gained the name Palace of Light – a phrase from a poem by the famous Latvian writer Auseklis (1850-1879). The building itself has been designed in accordance with Rainis’ (1865-1929) play Zelta Zirgs (Golden Horse), where he describes a hill made of glass that only the selfless Antiņš can ride up with his horse and awaken a princess who lays sleeping on top of the hill.