Famed Weimar library to risefrom ashes, officials vow

7th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 September 2004 , WEIMAR - Authorities in Germany said the famed Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar would be rebuilt to its original rococo splendour following last week's devastating fire that destroyed 30,000 priceless volumes dating back to the Renaissance.

8 September 2004

WEIMAR - Authorities in Germany said the famed Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar would be rebuilt to its original rococo splendour following last week's devastating fire that destroyed 30,000 priceless volumes dating back to the Renaissance.

"We intend to raise federal, state and local money as well as private donations to cover the cost of rebuilding the library and restoration work on some 40,000 damaged books," said Jens Goebel, minister of culture for the state of Thuringia.

Dilapidated electrical equipment has been pinpointed as the cause of the fire late Thursday.

Investigators traced the origins to old electrical equipment located beneath the roof dating back to the Communist era.

The consumed not only the 30,000 books dating back to the Renaissance, but also scores of Rococo paintings.

Another 40,000 priceless volumes were badly damaged, officials said. Clean-up crews have yet to reach another 40,000 books to determine their condition.

The fire hit just five weeks before the books were to have to been moved to a secure, underground storage room currently under construction. The Weimar Classic Foundation which manages the library said none of the one million books on the site had been insured.

Its head, Hellmut Seemann, said 50,000 books, including a unique bible collection from the gutted section of the palace, had survived, but many of those books were charred or soaked.

They would be immediately deep frozen, the first step in a process that dries them without the pages wrinkling or glue dissolving.

The Dowager Duchess Anna Amalia and her son, Duke Carl August, put Weimar on Europe's cultural map in the late 18th century. Seeking a tutor for her son, the duchess hired Christoph Martin Wieland, a poet and translator of Shakespeare's works.

Anna Amalia also created her library in a 16th century rococo- style palace, with Wieland's Shakespeare volumes comprising the core of the collection.

It later fell under the supervision of German author and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and the collection includes the world's largest "Faust" collection. The building is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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