Russian State Library

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Russian State Library

Once called Biblioteka Imeni Lenina, or the Lenin Library, this is Russia's largest library, with more than 30 million books and manuscripts. The modern building was built between 1928 and 1940. Bronze busts of famous writers and scientists adorn the main facade. The portico, supported by square black pillars, is approached by a wide ceremonial staircase. A 12-foot statue of Dostoyevsky was erected in front of the library in 1997 in honor of the 850th anniversary of Moscow. The great novelist, sculpted by Alexander Rukavishnikov, sits where the Soviets once considered erecting a giant Lenin head. In theory, anyone can visit the library as a day visitor, but you need some persistence to fill in forms and deal with the bureaucracy (bring your passport). It's arguably worth it, though, to see the grand main hall.

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