Seminary Library, Ljubljana


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Contact info
Semeniška knjižnica v Ljubljani
Dolničarjeva 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana
Phone386 (0) 1 300 1953
Managed byBogoslovno semenišče Ljubljana
Mateja Demšar, Library head

Established in 1701 and richly decorated in Baroque style, the Seminary Library was the first public scientific library in Ljubljana. It contains a valuable old ecclesiastic and secular book collection, including numerous precious manuscripts and prints. Its wooden fixtures and fittings were carved in the local workshop of Joseph Wergant and its frescoes were created by the Italian Baroque painter Giulio Quaglio in 1721. The Baroque library nevertheless remains open to the public with prior notification.


The idea to establish a scientific library accessible to the wider public was born in Academia Operosorum Labacensis, which was led by the provost of the Cathedral Janez Krstnik Prešern. The members of the academy strove to modernise the city by setting up new institutions, one of them being a new library. The founding charter of the new library was signed by the Ljubljana bishop Sigismund Cristophorus Herberstein, by the provost Prešern, and by the dean of the Cathedral Janez Anton Dolničar, who agreed to give posthumously all their books to the newly established public library; the new library would be open during the day and the books would not be lent.

The library grew after the library founders passed away, their books were kept at a temporary location. When construction on a new seminary – the Charles Institute – began in 1708, it included designs for a new library hall. In 1721 its ceiling was painted by the Italian painter Giulio Quaglio who previously worked at the cathedral, and the carpenter and carver Joseph Wergant provided beautiful oak cabinets and bookshelves in 1725. When the Lyceum Library was founded in Ljubljana by the Empress Maria Theresa in 1774 and opened for the public in 1794, the Seminary Library remained available to the priests and seminarians. When the University of Ljubljana was founded in 1919, a new library of the Faculty of Theology was established.


The "old" library's collection comprises 7,000 units, among them about 30 incunabula, 377 Latin, German, and Slovenian manuscripts and a special collection of opera librettos. The famous manuscript is the little Latin Bible from the 13th century or from the beginning of the 14th century, also called Hren's Bible.

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