Nations built by their bookstores and libraries and not by the weapons of mass destruction. The most gorgeous bookstore situated at 1860 Santa Fe Avenue in Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, Named by The Guardian as the second most beautiful bookshop in the world in 2008, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is one of the best known bookshops in Argentina.
Designed by the architects Peró and Torres Armengol, with ceiling frescoes painted by Nazareno Orlandi and support columns sculpted by Troiano Troiani, the grand theatre first opened in May 1919 with a seating capacity of 1,050.
In the late 1920s it was converted into a movie theatre and then retrofitted into a flagship bookstore in the year 2000.
According to a recent study by the World Cities Culture Forum, Buenos Aires has more bookshops per inhabitant than any other city in the world. According to The Guardian:
With a population of around 2.8 million, Buenos Aires has at least 734 bookstores – roughly 25 bookshops for every 100,000 inhabitants. Worldwide, only Hong Kong comes close, with 22 bookshops per 100,000, followed by Madrid in a distant third with just 16 and compared to a mere 10 bookshops for every 100,000 for London.
Over 1,000,000 people annually visit the enormous 21,000 square foot bookstore. Check out the official website for more information.