Wolfenbüttel, Germany

Reading Hall in the Herzog August Library Credit: HAB Wolfenbüttel

Reading Hall in the Herzog August Library Credit: HAB Wolfenbüttel

The City in Lower Saxony is Home to a Famous Ancient Library

The Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel has one of the largest collections of ancient books in the world and was called the 8th wonder of the world in the 16th century.

The House of Welfs, a European dynasty that included many German and British monarchs, established the town of Wolfenbüttel in 1283. For more than four centuries it was the residence of the art-loving Dukes of Braunschweig and Lüneburg, a center of intellectual life and the fine arts. The old town with its 600 half-timbered houses, the second largest castle in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen is the German translation), the world famous Herzog August Library, the Lessinghaus and the many churches form a synthesis of the arts found nowhere else in Lower Saxony.

The City of Wolfenbüttel

Wolfenbüttel lies about 13 kilometers south of Braunschweig ( Brunswick). The town that counts less than 60,000 inhabitants is home of several departments of the University of Applied Sciences Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel and the Lessing Akademie (academy), an organization for the study of Lessing’s works. It is also home to the Niedersächsische Staatsarchiv (the state archives of Lower Saxony).

Today Wolfenbüttel is smaller than the neighbouring cities of Braunschweig, Salzgitter, and Wolfsburg, but, because it was largely undamaged by the war, its downtown still retains its historical character. Wolfenbüttel is located on the German Framework Road (Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse).

Herzog August Library – Then the Eighth Wonder of the World

Quite often tourists and scientists alike have only one destination in Wolfenbüttel: The Herzog August Library founded in 1572. The library has one of the largest and best known collections of ancient books in the world and is especially rich in bibles and books of the reformation period. During the reign of Herzog (Duke) August it was the largest collection of books in Europe and was considered the eighth wonder of the world. Today the buildings house a modern research library of international rank, with a collection of one million volumes, 350,000 of which date from the 15th to the 18th century.

The treasure of all treasures in the Bibliotheca Augusta and the attraction is without any doubt Henry the Lion’s Book of the Gospels, which was bought in 1983 at an auction in London for 16 million Euros. It is one of the most magnificent and precious manuscripts of the Middle Ages.

Attractions Around Wolfenbüttel

Visitors will come across numerous sites of medieval events in the Wolfenbüttel district. Remains of an early medieval palace are being excavated at the archeological park Kaiserpfalz Werla. In 1005 Pope Clemens II was born in Hornburg, the northern Rothenburg. He crowned King Heinrich III Emperor.

In Schöppenstedt visitors may come across the ghost of Till Eulenspiegel – joker, jester and sage. It is said he was born in Kneitlingen near Braunschweig in 1300.

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