The Bucharest Municipality Museum library owns a valuable literary national heritage, made of 1957 tomes, including manuscripts (18th to 19th centuries), foreign tomes (1560-1800), old Romanian tomes (1648-1830), books of bibliophile value (1800-1900) and old Romanian periodic (19th century).
The collection’s nucleus is constituted of publications with documentary value for the history of Romanians and the history of the city from the 16th to the 19th as well as for the history of books and the printing press in Bucharest from the 17th to the 19th century. In what regards the content of these tomes, the collection includes volumes on various subjects: ecclesiastical and other religious texts (prayer books, religious dogma texts, pastoral volumes, books on Orthodox polemics), writings of scientific nature (on history, art history, philosophy, the history of religion, commerce, medicine), books on law, belletristic, biographies, dictionaries and numerous recollections from foreign travelers visiting Wallachia between the 18th and the 19th centuries. The books are printed in Romanian (using the Cyrillic alphabet, the transition one, and the Latin alphabet) or in foreign languages such as Greek, Neo-Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German etc., and published in Romania or in other European cities like Vienna, Venice, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Hague or Paris, and so on.
Numerous volumes also contain annotations and ex-libri annotations that provide information on their previous owners, as well as interesting reading notes and comments on the events of the time. Part of the books still have their original bindings (parchment, cardboard or wooden covers, wrapped in decorated leather) made by master book-binders in the country or by great European printing-press centers.
The oldest Romanian tome is the New Testament, printed at Alba-Iulia in 1648. The religious volumes printed in Bucharest under the patronage of rulers Şerban Cantacuzino (Cheia Înțelesului, 1678), Constantin Brâncoveanu (The Holy Bible, 1688), Nicolae Mavrocordat (Missal, 1729), Constantin Mavrocordat (Triodyon, 1746), Mihai Racoviță (Psalter, 1754) and the first Romanian Law books edited on the order on rulers Matei Basarab (Straightening Law, 1652) and Ioan Gheorghe Caragea (Legislation, 1818) are among the collection’s most prized pieces.
The oldest tomes published in the West date from the 16th century and constitute important narrative and illustrative resources for the history of Romanians: Francesco Sansovino, Del l'Historia universale del l' origine et imperio de Turchi, 1st Edition, Venice, 1560 and 3rd edition, revised, Venice, 1564; Johann Adam Lonicer, Jean-Jacques Boissard, Pannoniae historia chronologica, Frankfurt, 1596 and Jean-Jacques Boissard, Vitae et icones sultanorum turcicorum, Frankfurt, 1596.
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