With each incarnation since its inception in 1919—first as a performing arts theater, then as a cinema, and now as a bookstore—the Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has proven itself befitting of its majestic title. Having retained its original frescoed ceilings, ornate theater boxes, elegant rounded balconies, detailed trimmings, and plush red stage curtains, the interior of the building remains as stunning today as when it was first envisioned by architects Peró and Torres Armengol.
In its glory days, the Teatro Grand Splendid hosted the world's greatest tango legends, before being transformed into a film house in 1929. Architect Fernando Manzone oversaw the building’s most recent conversion into the El Ateneo bookstore and music shop.
While the selection of books on offer is standard chain store fare, bibliophiles will find the staggeringly opulent display of books to be reason enough to pay El Ateneo Grand Splendid a visit. To fully bask in the splendor, one can also indulge in coffee and listen to live piano music performed on the same stage where the greatest Argentinean tango stars once performed.
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