Thursday, 1 March 2012 celebrates 300 years of Spain's National Library

SPAIN Today's logo (a.k.a. a doodle) is a cartoon of the Biblioteca Nacional, which celebrates its 300th anniversary today, coincidentally also on International Book Day. Founded on March 1, 1712, the National Library houses 28 million documents today. King Felipe V approved of the creation of a Royal Library on December 29, 1711, on the condition that it would be open to the public. It began its life on this day in a passageway called Pasadizo de la Encarnación, now the magnificent Plaza de Oriente in Madrid, and contained numerous tomes from a large variety of places. The library moved several times over th years until it settled at its present location on Paseo de Recoletos, but was expanded with an annex in 1993 at Alcalá de Henares. These days it functions not unlike the US Library of Congress, which keeps a register of all publications, with some 861,145 pieces registered in 2010 alone. Among its most important treasures are Leonardo da Vinci's Madrid Codexes I and II, the Biblia Politica Regia (a Bible in several ancient languages  including Arameic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin), the writings of the Beato de Liébana and the Brevary  of Queen Isabel the Catholic, the manuscript of Las siete partidas, a set of laws written by King Alfonso Xthe Wise, among many others.

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