The Ossolineum Library
st. Szewska 37
This stunning Baroque palace complex on the Odra riverbank was rebuilt to its late 17th century designs after being damaged heavily during WW II and is today one of the most outstanding works of Baroque architecture in Poland. Originally a hospital and convent, later a college, today the magnificent grounds are home to the Ossolineum Library - an important research centre and national archive, the country's oldest still-running publishing centre and one of its largest library collections. Established in 1817 by Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński when he began collecting Polish manuscripts and cultural documents in his Vienna flat, recognising their importance to national culture after Poland was wiped from the world map, Ossoliński's private library became a national institute and was eventually moved to L'viv where it expanded generously. After post-war border changed, the collection was moved to Wrocław, however communist authorities confiscated over 80% of it which presumably remains in L'viv today. The collections of the Ossolineum are some of the most valuable in the country and include manuscripts by Polish bards Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Słowacki, writings by Copernicus, and drawings by Rembrandt and Durer. The site of regular free exhibitions, the Ossolineum is otherwise worth a look around for the building itself, with the library and inner and outer courtyards all accessible to the public.