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Spanish National Library

Front page

  • Façade of the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Gabriel Muñiz. Ministerio de Cultura

    Façade of the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Gabriel Muñiz. Ministerio de Cultura

  • Reference room in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

    Reference room in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

  • Staircase. Entrance hall in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

    Staircase. Entrance hall in the Spanish National Library. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura



Library owned by the state
Paseo de Recoletos, 20-22
28071 Madrid

Telephone+34 915807800

Fax+34 915775634


The Spanish National Library was founded by Philip V and opened its doors in 1712 with the name of Royal Public Library. It is today Spain's primary national library institution.

By means of a system of legal deposit, one or various copies of all bibliographic articles, on any kind of support, are entered in the Spanish National Library. It is therefore home to an extensive collection of works of extraordinary value of all different kinds. The manuscripts, personal archives, incunabula and ancient and modern printed matter, in addition to journals and periodicals, form the basis of Spain's bibliographic heritage. Particularly exceptional is the Cervantes collection, containing 26 editions of Don Quixote printed in the 17th century. This cultural heritage is further enriched by an important collection of music and sound and audiovisual recordings. The Spanish Public Library has an outstanding and extensive collection of etchings, of which particular highlights include various prints by Francisco de Goya, an extremely valuable collection of original drawings including works by Velázquez and Murillo, and an excellent and numerous collection of photographs. The library also offers an attractive cultural programme of exhibitions, lectures and presentations, as well as the Library Museum.

Essential works

  • 'Psalter. Book of Hours'. Madrid © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Psalter. Book of Hours.

    This is one of the most important liturgical manuscripts in the National Library.

    More info
  • Amors de Curial e Güelfa © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Amors de Curial e Güelfa

    An anonymous chivalresque novel in Catalan that narrates the adventures of the knight Curial and his beloved Güelfa. The work is conserved in this single paper manuscript.

    More info
  • Art of navigation © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    The Art of Navigation

    The “Art of navigation” by Pedro de Medina was the first printed treatise to deal exclusively with nautical science.

    More info
  • Atlas of Battista Agnese © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Atlas by Battista Agnese

    Atlas with striking decoration due to its gold brushwork. Battista Agnese made about 100 atlases, which progressively incorporated new discoveries.

    More info
  • Atlas of Joan Martines © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Atlas by Joan Martines

    It combines decorative elements and medieval script, which contains information that reflects the knowledge that existed in the second half of the 16th century.

    More info
  • 'Basta callar: comedia en tres jornadas' © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Basta callar: comedia en tres jornadas (It Suffices to Shut Up: a three-day comedy)

    Long version of the comedy by Calderón de la Barca. Most of it is an autograph, although it has notes by different people.

    More info
  • Beatus of Liébana: codex of Ferdinand I and Doña Sancha © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Beatus of Liébana: codex of Ferdinand I and Doña Sancha

    This is the most valuable of the 35 surviving copies of the work “Comments to the Apocalypse of Saint John”, made by a mink called Beatus towards 776.

    More info
  • Benôit de Sainte-More. Chronicle of Troy © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Chronicle of Troy

    This is one of the only two remaining examples of what is known as 'The Trojan chronicle' translated into Galician, and is therefore of great importance to scholars of this language and its development.

    More info
  • Avila bible © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Avila bible

    Large-format codex containing the Old and New Testaments. The importance of the work derives from the capital letters, which are copiously decorated in several colours.

    More info
  • Biblia Hispalense © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Biblia Hispalense

    This work, of Moorish influence, is written in Latin, in Visigoth lower case, although it also contains titles in Hebrew and notes in Arabic.

    More info


The library's collections are included in the Collective Catalogue of Spanish Bibliographic Heritage, created for the purpose of describing and locating books and other bibliographic items held in libraries and Spanish institutions which, for reason of their antiquity, singularity or value, form part of Spain's Historic Heritage.

Come and visit


Sep 16 to Jun 15

Monday A Friday

Does not close at midday

9:00 AM to 9:00 PM


9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Closing days: Sundays

Jun 16 to Sep 15

9:00 AM to 7:30 PM

Closing days: Weekend

In-house consultation
Newspaper and magazine archive
Bibliographic information
Inter-library lending
Document reservation
Reference service
Guided tours

Accessible to the disabled, with companion
Car park


Find tourist information in the surroundings

Very interesting


©Luis Ramirez de Lucena

Oct 20, 2018 to Oct 27, 2019


Spanish National Library - Madrid
Introduction to chess for adults workshop

Discover the surroundings See more

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