The Romanian Academy never intended to function as a museum, that is to store and exhibit art collections, antiquities or rarities of any type for educational purposes. However, in the course of time, the Academy has come to hold a significant part of Romania’s cultural patrimony as a natural consequence of the basic scientific functions of this institution.


THE ACADEMY LIBRARY is the first such example. Of course, its main role is to provide documentation for research in the numerous scientific domains covered by the Academy.

Thus, from 1867 to the present, on the one hand the Academy has amassed a huge encyclopedic library - over 7 million books, nearly 50,000 titles of periodicals, and 4,500,000 microfilms and microfiches - and, on the other, a network of as many specialized libraries as there are institutes governed by the Academy has developed.


For a long time, the Romanian Academy Library functioned as the country’s national library, charged with the preservation of the entire production of Romanian presses beginning with the year 1508, when printing was introduced in the Principality of Wallachia. Thus, the Academy gradually became the repository of cultural collections of national importance: the oldest books printed in Romania, 13,000 volumes of old manuscripts and 71,000 modern manuscripts in many languages, 600,000 historic documents, over 200 archives on momentous personalities, totaling several million pieces, 543,000 letters and autographs of nationally and internationally celebrated men and women of culture. The Library also has special collections of drawings and engravings (105,000 pieces), photographs and negatives (350,000), maps and atlases (over 17,000), hand-written as well as printed musical scores (74,600), disks (18,000), coins, medals, philatelic funds and pieces (250,000).

Among these, a few stand out through either artistic value or age, as do for example the Romanian Liturgical Manuscript # 1790, illustrated with gorgeous miniatures around 1650, or the Greek Ms. # 1294 containing a hymn for penitens, written in the 11th century and illustrated with Byzantine miniatures on each page.

From the Slavonic fund of nearly 1,000 volumes, mention must be made of a masterpiece of calligraphy, Evangheliarul (The Gospel) copied at the end of the 15th century by Teodor Marasescu in the scriptorium of Prince Stephen the Great of Moldavia. In the fund of Latin manuscripts, more modest numerically, there are several 14th and 15th century volumes that contain miniatures, among which the oversized Antiphonary registered under number 3. Finally, the illuminated manuscript of Firdousi’s work, Shah-name, can be found in the Oriental fund.

Many of the drawings and engravings in the Library collections have great artistic value; there are works by Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Rembrandt, Anton van Dyck, Jacques Callot, Goya, Delacroix, Daumier, over 1,000 Japanese engravings by famous artists, along with works by Romanian artists. The numismatic fund is made up of old Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins from the 7th century B.C. and up, some of which are extremely rare or unique in the world, and of all the coins minted on the territory of Romania, from Dacian coins up to those of today. The glyptical (engraved gems) collection is also quite valuable, with the famous Orghidan cameo, one of the largest in the world.



copyright © Academia Română 2006

copyright © Academia Română 2006