Volumes of the Cervantes collection

The entrance to the Library

Photo of the Counts Library, 19th century

Detail of the exhibition, in the Library

Partial view of the Library


The library is one of the Castle’s most important and famous cultural features. Built new in the refurbishment of the Carmelite Convent and finished in around 1889, this library initially housed the books of the last counts.


The university background of the counts (one of the two brothers was a lawyer and the other a mining engineer) and their diverse interests (they were men of the Catalan cultural movement known as the Renaixença, and at the same time they were avid travelers, with family homes in Peralada, Mallorca and Paris) would spur them to seek both humanist and scientific books, in addition to subscribing to the finest magazines of their time. By the time the family died out (1899), the library contained some 28,000 books.


At the time of the Marquis de la Torre (until 1923), there was no significant increase in the library’s holdings.


When Miquel Mateu purchased the castle, he conserved the entire library, while moreover greatly enhancing its collections. His activity as a book collector was intense, as he became one of the greatest book buyers of his time in Spain.


On one hand, Miquel Mateu created a thematic library made up primarily of history and literary books. On the other hand, his purchases revealed the true nature of a bibliophile, as he bought countless books that were valuable in and of themselves, regardless of their theme. Hence, he managed to gather approximately two hundred incunabula, some seven hundred one-of-a-kind or extremely rare books and eight hundred letters of patent nobility, as well as countless Gothic types or manuscripts.


Without a doubt, the library’s most spectacular group of books is the Cervantes collection. This is one of the best private Cervantes collections in the world, with some 5.000 issues that include more than one thousand different editions of Don Quijote, which can be found in 33 different languages in this library.


We must also point out the great importance of the archive, which contains documents that date back to the 9th century. Many are the sources of this historical archive, as it was purchased, although it also contains the documentary holdings of the convent in which it is located.


The considerable personal archive of Miquel Mateu can also be found here, as well as much of the last collected letters of his father, Damià Mateu. Upon Miquel Mateu’s death (1972), the library contained some 70.000 books. There are now approximately 100.000.


Both the library and the archive are open to researchers in the mornings.