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100-Year-Old Theater Turned Bookstore Is Every Bibliophile’s Dream Come True

by Kate Ryan

September 19, 2016

Theatergoers and bookworms, rejoice. One unique bookstore in Argentina has combined every culture lover’s favorite things. Located in Recoleta, Grand Splendid Theater in Buenos Aires opened in May of 1919 and for many years hosted live performances as well as films as technology progressed. While retaining many of its original architectural features, the theater now houses a different kind of audience: books, thousands and thousands of books.

Nearly two decades ago in 2000, Grupo Ilhsa had the brilliant idea to convert the space into the El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore, and the idea apparently resonated with both tourists and locals alike. According to My Modern Met, over a million people visit the store each year. Whether they’re going to buy loads of books or gaze at the original balconies, frescoes, sculptures, intricate carvings, and gorgeous velvet stage curtains is another story.

With a café on the main stage, theater boxes that make perfect reading nooks, and an in-house piano player, the Grand Splendid bookstore is the ultimate lazy afternoon destination. As Liz Lemon would say, “I want to go to there.”


Keep scrolling to see photos of the majestic reading sanctuary, and next time you’re in Argentina, don’t forget to make a pit stop.

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100-Year-Old Theater Turned Bookstore Is Every Bibliophile’s Dream Come True