In 1725, Francke ordered a new building specifically to hold the substantial book collection. Three years later, in 1728, this stone-built house in front of you was completed – the oldest existing purpose-built public library in Germany. In the library hall, we seem to be looking at a stage backdrop in a theatre – which is why it is known as a Kulissenbibliothek, since the shelves at right-angles created a kind of ‘perspective scenery’ known, for example, from the baroque theatres.
In Francke’s day, a building devoted solely to books was a sensation. There was only ONE other free-standing library anywhere in Germany ‑ the ducal library at Wolfenbüttel.
Raise the curtain on a grandiose spectacle: books, books, books ... and shelves, shelves, shelves. At first glance, the baroque shelves lined up in a row look as if they were made of precious marble. The arrangement creates the impression that they are theatre scenery on a stage - that is why the hall is called »Kulissenmagazin«.