Established in 1774, the National and University Library of Slovenia is one of the country’s most prestigious institutions. Tucked away in Plečnik Palace on the edge of the medieval center of Ljubljana, the Jože Plečnik-designed, four-story building is patterned with contrasting limestone and brickwork and centered around a pair of internal courtyards. The impressive library reading room fans out around a monumental marble staircase scattered with 32 gray and black marble columns.
Open to guided tours, the library holds some 1.3 million books, 8,700 rare manuscripts, and other multimedia resources. It also contains five major collections of Slovenian artifacts, from medieval manuscripts to maps, all of which are available to view in a series of ornate exhibition rooms. The National and University Library is included on many walking tours of Ljubljana, and a visit can be combined with a cruise down the Ljubljanica River or local beer tasting for an experience that's one for the books.