Argentina has endured military dictatorship, economic collapse and some particularly outrageous brands of politics. The Country’s unfortunate history may explain in part why the country’s capital, Buenos Aires has more bookshops per inhabitant than any other city in the world. With a population of around 2.9 million, the city has at least 734 bookstores.
What is considered to be one of the finest bookstores in the world is to be found in Buenos Aires. The building which houses the El Ateneo bookshop was originally the home of a theatre called the Theater Teatro Grand Splendidin the 1920s.
Ilhsa Group, the owner of El Ateneo publishing house bought the building in 2000 and renovated and converted it into the bookshop it now is.
The grandeur of the El Ateneo bookshop is something else. It still boasts the beautiful ceiling frescoes painted by an Italian artist almost a century and more than a million customers visit it each year to browse through its gargantuan 21,000 square feet of showroom and some spend time in one of the old theatre boxes for a leisurely read.