Qatar National Library

in Doha

Qatar National Library, Doha, Qatar, November 2017; Shutterstock ID 1247187562; Your name (First / Last): Lauren Keith; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Destination page image update

One of the best libraries in the world, this incredible, spaceship-like structure contains a literary wonderland of two million books, including ancient maps and Qurans and literature dating back to the 15th century. You enter the building though a futuristic hatch; inside, the bookshelves appear to almost float on the wall of the library. In the centre of the expansive room is a labyrinth-like pit where all the ancient heritage books are kept on a maze of carefully positioned shelves.

The library also contains egg chairs, work stations, exhibition spaces (with rotating shows by modern artists), a children's library and a cafeteria-style restaurant. An innovation station has a recording studio filled with instruments; it's free to use, but bookable by residents only. Likewise, anyone can read the books while visiting the library, but only Qatari residents may borrow them from the building.