In Buenos Aires there are more than 467 stores dedicated to the sale of books, of all of them without doubt the most impressive is El Ateneo grand Splendid. An old theater theater converted into a bookstore in which the ancient splendor of its theatrical era is preserved.
The building where this bookshop is located was originally a theater theater opened in 1919 by the Austrian businessman Mordechai David Glücksman and baptized as the Grand Splendid. It had four rows of boxes and a stalls with capacity for 500 people; great personalities passed through his stage including his greatest exponent, Carlos Gardel, who even recorded several albums in the recording room that the theater had installed.
Its central dome was painted in 1919 as a celebration for the end of World War I by Nazarene Orland. Here peace is represented by a sensual woman who is painted on a staircase surrounded by flowers surrounded by the various representatives of the world.
In 2000, the old cinema-theater was acquired by the ILHSA Group that owns the El Ateneo and Yenny bookstores. The building was remodeled and adapted to its new library functions but retaining its old architectural details that makes the Grand Splendis Athenaeum as the group’s flagship store.
In what was once the main theater stall, bookstores are found as well as in the upper boxes, in the whole theater you can find armchairs where readers can evaluate the book before buying them. On stage he was turned into a small cafe, joining another of the Argentinean passions, coffee talks and books.
The architectural beauty of this library is something that surprises each of its visitors. The famous National Geographic magazine considered the Ateneo Grand Splendid Library as the “prettiest in the world”. It was also chosen by the British newspaper The Guardian, as the second most beautiful bookshop in the world, second only to the Maastricht bookshop church, in the Netherlands.
But the Ateneo Grand Splendid is not only the most beautiful bookstore but also the largest and the bookstore with the largest number and variety of books in all of Buenos Aires, since in its shelves we can find more than 120 thousand titles