It’s hard to believe that just under a century ago nearly every city had their own ornate theater. Due to economic realities and the invention of film, most of these majestic theaters are no more. While some have been left to ruin, others have been renovated, but none quite like El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires…
The old theater is now one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
The space served as a theater until tough economic times in the 1990s forced the building’s doors closed.
The theater was facing certain demolition when it was purchased by the ILHSA Group.
It just so happened that the group who purchased the theater owned a publishing house – what better business move than to open a bookstore?
Today theater seats have been swapped for bookshelves, but much of the building’s original details remain intact, such as the beautiful ceiling paintings by Italian artist Nazareno Orlandi.
Original woodwork and balconies can also be found inside the old theater.
As well as the original stage, complete with red theatrical curtains.
Fancy theater boxes that were once reserved for the elite are now cozy reading spots for everyday people.
It’s a great space to relax with a book.
Luckily, the selection is large.
And you can even get your caffeine fix at this charming café on the old stage. But beware – once you enter this enchanting place, it might be difficult to leave.
It is no surprise that the El Ateneo Grand Splendid hosts over a million visitors each year, making it the most popular bookstore in Buenos Aires. Don’t forget to share these incredible images with anyone who loves theaters or books.