ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Central Library was recently named one of the nation’s most beautiful libraries by Fodor’s Travel.

The list of the ‘11 Most Beautiful Libraries in the United States‘ appeared on Fodors.com on June 11.

The Central Library, located at 1301 Olive Street in downtown, is the flagship location of the St. Louis Public Library system. It was designed by world-renowned architect Cass Gilbert and was built in the Beaux-Arts and Neo-Classical styles. The library, which occupies a full city block, opened on Jan. 6, 1912.

The library contains replica features from the Pantheon, Vatican, and Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library.

Fodor’s writer Molly O’Brien praised the library’s entrance and garden.

“There’s a magnificently grand front entrance and a peaceful sunken garden space out back for relaxing. In addition to offering an impressive amount of literature and acting as a community space, this library seemingly brings a modern version of the Italian Renaissance to downtown St. Louis,” she wrote

George Nikolajevich of Cannon Design led a $70 million renovation of Central Library in 2011 and 2012.

Free, expert tours are available for individuals and groups on Mondays at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and on Saturdays at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. Private tours are also available, but by appointment only. For more information or to arrange a tour, call 314-338-7792 or email web@slpl.org.