If you’re the kind of person who enjoys traveling and reading in equal measure, visiting beautiful bookstores around the world is probably one of your favorite hobbies. They can be found pretty much anywhere, but none of them compares to Argentina’s Capital’s El Ateneo Grand Splendid.
Hailed as the “world’s most beautiful bookstore” by National Geographic, El Ateneo Grand Splendid now attracts approximately a million annual visitors, but it wasn’t always a bookstore. When it first opened its doors in 1919, this building used to be a beautiful theater that could seat over 1,000 people.
The transformation of this ornate theater into a splendid bookstore started after Grupo Ilhsa leased the space in 2000. They own the chain of over 40 bookstores, and their main goal was to transform this one into their flagship location, while still keeping the original design intact.
The ceiling, vintage carvings, crimson curtains, and many other architectural details are still present, while the theatre boxes now house countless bookshelves, and the former stage serves as a café. Its doors are open Monday through Saturday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.