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If you love bookstores, you may want to plan your next vacation around seeing this one.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, a 100 year old theater has been transformed into a gorgeous bookstore. After a life of ballet and dramas, film screenings and operas, it now houses millions of books–all of them for sale.
Back in 2000, a book publisher teamed up with an architect to transform the elegant theater into a book-lover’s paradise.
Remarkably, the space still looks and feels like a grand theater. You can even see the theater boxes and curtains. In this hall, you are encouraged to pick up a book and take your seat…to read.
The theater-turned-bookstore is called El Ateneo Grand Splendid. Splendid being the operative word, here. The store is a favorite among tourists who love unique bookstores. Many of their books are also in English, so it’s not a problem if you don’t read any Spanish.
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Literature steals the show at this century-old theater in Buenos Aires. 📚 As we explore design in Argentina’s capital, we asked @loopegarcia, a local restauranteur and creative director, to show us a few places that appeal to design lovers. In a city of many bookstores, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is at the top of the list. It opened as a theatre during what @loopegarcia called “the golden age of Buenos Aires.” A decade later it became a cinema, and in 2000 the architect Fernando Manzone converted it into the palatial bookstore it is today — with theater boxes, curtains and frescoes intact. Once you’ve taken your photos of the golden stacks, pause with a snack in the cafe, on a stage that was once home to tango dancers. 💃 #DesignSpaces: Throughout August, we’re exploring design in #BuenosAires. Watch our story to see @loopegarcia’s tips for design lovers who plan to visit. 📸: @yadidlevyphotography . . . #elateneograndsplendid #literatura #DesignSpacesBuenosAires #teatro #diseño #decoración #arquitectura #interiorismo #grandsplendid #shelfie #librariesofinstagram #bookstagram #bookshop
But, why don’t you pick up some Spanish-language books while you are there? You can also have lunch or enjoy coffee in their charming cafe situated on the former stage.
When you are there, you can close your eyes and imagine the dancers that once performed the tango right on the stage where you are reading.
Coffee, dancing and books? I’m packing right now.