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South Africa's most beautiful library


Port Elizabeth's Public Library


A visit to the library isn't something on your average travellers bucket list. Well not on mine at least.

With just under 6 hours to explore Port Elizabeth's city by foot, I accidentally stumbled across the Public Library on market square by complete accident I was amazed at how appealing beautiful a library could look. It must have been the victorian styled architecture with its gothic flair that first drew me to it.



Declared as a National Monument in 1973, the Public Library first opened its doors in 1901. In front of the building you will find a Sicilian marble statue of Queen Victoria who looks over the market square. The intricate, decorative, terra-cotta façade of the building was manufactured in England.

Today it is the only historic building in South Africa built as a Public Library which is still functioning as a public library.


The inside

There is no charge to see the library. When you enter you can't help but stare at the stained glass windows that have survived to the present time. The library is 3 storeys high, and filled with book collections from around the world.