In Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, you will find one of the world’s most beautiful bookshops. Named El Ateneo Grand Splendid, the stunning bookshop is build within the almost 100-year-old Grand Splendid Theater, which opened in 1919. The theater had a seating capacity of 1,050, and staged a variety of performances, including tango artists Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro and Ignacio Corsini. In the late twenties the theater was converted into a cinema, and it showed the first sound films presented in Argentina back in 1929.
In 2000, the building was converted into a book and music shop under the direction of architect Fernando Manzone, who kept many of the architectural features intact. The ceiling, the ornate carvings, the red curtains and even the stage are all still there — giving the bookstore the feeling of the grand theater that it once was.
In 2008, the Guardian named El Ateneo Grand Splendid as the second most beautiful bookstore in the world, which is hardly surprising considering it’s grandiose decor and classic 1920’s theater feel.