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article image‘El Ateneo Grand Splendid' Bookstore — A booklover’s paradise Special

By Igor I. Solar     May 9, 2014 in Entertainment
Buenos Aires - Occupying a large hall that maintains every detail of its elegant past as a theater and cinema venue, "El Ateneo" of Buenos Aires, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, delights customers with a huge variety of books, CDs and DVDs.
Editorial El Ateneo (Athenaeus) is a traditional bookstore chain founded in 1912 with 34 stores in several cities in Argentina. The most famous and representative branch is located in Santa Fe Avenue, in the central area of Buenos Aires.
In 2000, the company leased the building of the former "Grand Splendid Theatre” which closed in 1991 and had been condemned to demolition. After months of restoration, at the end of 2000 the large new branch was inaugurated and soon became the company’s flagship, the city’s main bookseller and the most charming book store in South America. In 2008, "El Ateneo - Grand Splendid" was chosen by the British newspaper “The Guardian” as the second most beautiful bookshop in the world (the first is the Selexyz Dominicanen Boekhandel bookstore of Maastricht, Netherlands, now “Polare Maastricht").
Entrance to  El Ateneo Grand Splendid  Bookstore  Buenos Aires.
Entrance to "El Ateneo Grand Splendid" Bookstore, Buenos Aires.
 El Ateneo Grand Spleendid  Bookstore  Buenos Aires.
"El Ateneo Grand Spleendid" Bookstore, Buenos Aires.
With a wide array of books, CDs and movies on DVD and Blu-ray, the store retains the magnificent splendor of the old theater, with the dome decorated with Italian frescoes, balconies and theatre boxes with bronze railings and original lighting. The antique decorations and velvet burgundy curtain of the stage, where a cafe with live piano music is located, were also preserved. Now the store has reading areas in the boxes and balconies, and a large section of children's books in the basement area. An estimated 10 million people a year visit the store and buy some 700,000 items.
Theatre boxes at  El Ateneo Grand Splendid  Bookstore serve as pleasant reading areas.
Theatre boxes at "El Ateneo Grand Splendid" Bookstore serve as pleasant reading areas.
The Gran Splendid Theatre was built in 1919. It had four tiers of theatre boxes and could accommodate an audience of over 500 people. The dome of the theatre was painted in 1919 by Italian-Argentine muralist Nazareno Orlandi as an allegory to “La Paz” (Peace), to celebrate the end of the First World War. “La Paz” is represented by a female figure surrounded by flowers, doves, angels and nymphs. The theater exhibited operatic works, tango shows and, in later years, movies. On its stage performed great tango personalities including the legendary singer Carlos Gardel.
 El Ateneo  Bookstore  Buenos Aires. The stage retains the old velvet burgundy curtains to enclose a...
"El Ateneo" Bookstore, Buenos Aires. The stage retains the old velvet burgundy curtains to enclose a charming cafe with live piano music.
 El Ateneo  Bookstore  Buenos Aires.
"El Ateneo" Bookstore, Buenos Aires.
Although the availability of books in the English language is limited, if you are a booklover and travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, you cannot miss visiting this awesome book store of remarkable beauty. You can see a panoramic view of the place here.
“El Ateneo - Grand Splendid” Address: Av. Santa Fe 1860, Buenos Aires. Open Monday-Thursday 9.00 AM - 10 PM. Friday and Saturday, 9:00 AM - Midnight. Sundays Noon - 10 PM. Nearest Subway Station: Line D: Callao Station.
More about El Ateneo Grand splendid, Bookstore, Books and music, Buenos aires, Argentina
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