El Ateneo

In Buenos Aires, we find one of the most famous bookshops of the world: El Ateneo. The place is beautiful and huge! El Ateneo has a great collection of books that include both Argentine titles and foreign titles. The place used to be a theater called Teatro Gran Splendid in the past. It used to house a wide variety of shows, including tango performances. The theater was inaugurated in 1919, but was converted into a cinema in the late 20s. The building features ceiling domed with frescoes painted by the Italian artist Nazareno Orlandi. Chairs are provided throughout the building, including the still-intact theatre boxes, where customers can dip into books before purchase, and there is now a café on the back of what was once the stage. The ceiling, the ornate carvings, the crimson stage curtains, the auditorium lighting and many architectural details remain. Despite some changes, the building still retains the appearance of the grand theatre it once was. The Guardian named El Ateneo second in its 2008 list of the World’s Ten Best Bookshops. 

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