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Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

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Contact: +34 91 580 7800
Open Hours: Jun 18-Sep 15: M-F 9a-9p; Sep 16-Jun 17: M-F 9a-9p, Sa 9a-2p
An impressive neoclassical building to one side of Plaza de Colón, the library's spectacular façade features three entrance archways with wrought-iron gates and an upper gallery decorated with elaborate carvings and Corinthian columns. Statues of Alfonso X (The Wise) and San Isidoro stand on the grand main staircase. Alongside the main doors, you'll be welcomed by images of Lope de Vega, Cervantes, Antonio de Nebrija and other famous Spanish writers like Santa Teresa, Quevedo and Fray Luis de León. It was built during the reign of Isabel II in the 19th Century and contains more than five million books.