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Beautiful Bookstore Inside An Old Theatre

Situated at 1860 Santa Fe Avenue in Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, you will find one of the most stunning bookstores in the world. Named by The Guardian as the second most beautiful bookshop in the world in 2008, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is one of the best known bookshops in Argentina.


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Designed by the architects Peró and Torres Armengol, with ceiling frescoes painted by Nazareno Orlandi and support columns sculpted by Troiano Troiani, the grand theatre first opened in May 1919 with a seating capacity of 1,050.

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Photograph by Diego Mala

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Photograph by Kara Brugman

 In the late 1920s it was converted into a movie theatre and then retrofitted into a flagship bookstore in the year 2000.

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Photograph by Nan Palmero

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Photograph by Céline on Flickr

According to a recent study by the World Cities Culture Forum, Buenos Aires has more bookshops per inhabitant than any other city in the world. According to The Guardian:

With a population of around 2.8 million, Buenos Aires has at least 734 bookstores – roughly 25 bookshops for every 100,000 inhabitants. Worldwide, only Hong Kong comes close, with 22 bookshops per 100,000, followed by Madrid in a distant third with just 16 and compared to a mere 10 bookshops for every 100,000 for London.

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Photograph by Violinha on Flickr

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Photograph by Liam Quinn

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Photograph by Nico Kaiser

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Photograph by David on Flickr

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Photograph by Jorge Láscar

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Photograph by Stanley Wood

Over 1,000,000 people annually visit the enormous 21,000 square foot bookstore. For more information visit the official website.

Main photo by Ryan Poole