Carol I Central University Library is the oldest university library in Bucharest and the most important one in Romania.
Located within Carol I University Foundation Palace – the headquarter of Royal Foundations – it benefits of the most modern endowments.
The library has an average flow of 1000 users per day.
The book “New Library Buildings of the World” (Shanghai, 2003) mentions it among the 100 most beautiful libraries.
The palace was built on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of King Carol I of Romania’s reign.
The French architect Paul Gottereau designed the palace in French Renaissance style, on a land bought by His Majesty.
He raised it between 1891 – 1893 and extended it between 1911 – 1914.
They inaugurated the palace, equipped inclusively with a library, in 1895 in the presence of the king.
The edifice imposed itself as one of Bucharest’s remarkable urbanistic landmarks.
Between the two world wars it hosted many cultural events.
Then during the Second World War it was among the strategic and civilian targets attacked.
Since 1948, after the instauration of the communist regime, the University Foundation Library has become the Central University Library.
Between 1963 – 1989 this gradually becomes the most complex university library in the country.
In 1949, the collection contained over half a million volumes.
In 1960 – about a million and in 1970 – over 2 million.
During the Romanian Revolution of 1989 a fire started within the Library.
This transformed its walls into ruins and over 500,000 rare books and documents in ashes.
Since 1990, under UNESCO aegis, it has begun the reconstruction and modernization of the library.
Over 100,000 volumes from the country and over 800,000 from abroad were donated.
The Library reopened in 2001, the same year when a memorial plaque was placed on one of palace’s walls.
This mentions that, on the place of the present palace, the house of Grigore Peucescu – editor of Timpul newspaper – existed.
And Mihai Eminescu, hired there, read for the first time the poem The Third Letter in the editor’s house.
In 2011 King Carol I’s equestrian statue made by the sculptor Ivan Mestrovici returned in front of the Library building.
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