A Century Old Theater Gets New Life As A Bookstore

el ateneo grand splendid buenos aires


This is truly a stunning transformation! Old theaters are already so enchanting but add shelves and shelves of beautiful books and it is a breathtaking combination.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

The El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a book store in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2019,  the Grand Splendid was named the “world’s most beautiful bookstore” by the National Geographic.

And we can see why!

It originally opened as a theater called Teatro Gran Splendid in May of 1919. The building features ceiling frescoes painted by Italian artist Nazareno Orlandi and sculptures by Troiano Troiani. 

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

The 1919 theater had a seating capacity of 1,050 and hosted not only live theater, but ballet, opera, and tango dancers and singers. In 1929 the theater was converted into a cinema and played the first sound films in Argentina.

old photo of El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Today, the Grand Splendid no longer enjoys the acoustics of song and film. Instead, it is filled with millions of pages of stories.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Don’t cry for me Argentina! This place is truly stunning!

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

The Grand Splendid’s current incarnation took place in the year 2000. So it has been hosting book lovers for over 20 years now.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Visitors come from all over the world to peruse the books and admire the architecture of this grand place.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Apparently, there are also books available in English for those English speakers who visit.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

This means that House Crazy Sarah needs to plan a trip to Argentina!







5 thoughts on “A Century Old Theater Gets New Life As A Bookstore

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    1. I had to look it up– it was there in the early 2000s, but apparently it closed a few years ago 🙁 That’s what I get for not visiting Bloor West Village more often. But I did visit that store and it was gorgeous. Toronto has a habit of losing both theatres and bookstores, unfortunately. Where did you live when you were here?

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