Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world
Combining the love of reading with the admiration for architecturally marvelous buildings is possible in Buenos Aires.
The Ateneo Grand Splendid tops several records: it is the largest bookstore in South America, it was chosen by the British newspaper The Guardian as the second best bookstore in the world and the American magazine National Geographic highlighted it as the most beautiful.
Hundreds of people pass through here daily who never cease to marvel at the spectacle that surrounds them. Entering this place is an experience in itself, that you can also buy books, music and movies there is a plus.
The bookstore was inaugurated on December 4, 2000, but the building retains the former splendor and elegance of the Grand Splendid theater from the beginning of the 20th century: with its original railings, intact decoration and an imposing 20-meter-diameter frescoed dome. The motif chosen to decorate the "sky" of the place was a representation of peace made by Nazareno Orlandi in 1919, just the same year in which the First World War had ended.
On the old stage – with the velvet curtain slightly open – there is a bar that invites you to sit down with a good book in hand. You can also take advantage of the armchairs that are on both sides of the main room or sit in the exclusive boxes that function as small reading rooms. In the basement there is a sector dedicated to children's books, and the upper floor is usually chosen for samples and exhibitions.
See it in 360° : https://youtu.be/a50BGJD6E10
The Grand Spendid Theater opened its doors in 1919 and quickly became one of the beacons of the City's culture, hosting major concerts, ballets, operas, and iconic plays like 40 Carats. In this same place, a sound film was shown for the first time in Argentina (The Divine Lady, in 1929). In turn, it was where the Nacional Odeón label (today known as EMI) operated, in which the great singer Carlos Gardel took his first steps. The recording room still exists, although it cannot be visited. It also housed the headquarters of Radio Splendid, which began broadcasting on May 23, 1923 and was the first station in which the legendary tango singer sang.
Although the theater stopped working at the end of the 1980s, the cinema continued to function until 1999. After being closed for a few months, and after an investment of 3 million dollars, it was converted into the bookstore that we know today.
- Adress: Av. Santa Fe 1860, C1123 CABA
- Tel: 011 4813-6052
- opening hours: mondays to saturdays 10 to 19 hs, and Sundays 12 to 19 hs