Upon stepping inside the El Ateneo Grand Splendid, book lovers will be wondering if whether they've fallen into a bygone era. Maybe, in fact, they did. It was a tango theater, then an opera house, then a movie theater, before finally becoming a heavenly bookstore for bibliophiles.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is the perfect place for people to read and bask in Argentinian literature. Before then, it contains 1,050 seating area, and now it holds around 120,000 book titles, nationally and internationally.
The halls and seating area are filled with books, while the seat boxes have comfy furniture for book lovers to lounge and read. What's amazing is what they did with the stage. There, the bookstore's café stands and serves coffee to whoever wants a little caffeine and blood rush when reading their favorite book. Moreover, every afternoon, a live pianist is playing on the stage as well.
During 1919, Jewish-Austrian photographer Max Glücksmann built the theater to hold musical and film artistry in Argentina. Five years after, he even had his radio station at the building as well. Hundreds of films have been shown at the Grand Splendid until it had its fallout by 1991.
The building was due to be demolished by a wrecking ball until the Ilhsa Group intervened and bought the Grand Splendid. Restoration of the building back to its former glory costs AR$3million and afterward, critics considered it as one of the world's most majestic bookstores in the world.
Of course, the Grand Splendid still remembered it musical past and dedicated its 2nd floor with classical and jazz music collections. The hallways also display photographs of tango performers back in its heyday.
There are 40 chains of El Ateneo, but Grand Splendid is clearly the favored one of all. If you want to be familiar with the place, see Buenos Tours for more information.