Originally known as Teatro Gran Splendid, this theater was converted into a multi-level bookstore that houses more than 700,000 books.
Can you imagine all those books under one roof? I have been fortunate enough to see El Ateneo in person, and it is beyond any book-lover's dream to visit and spend time browsing its shelves.
Countless shelves filled with books replaced the main theater seating. Most of the other architectural elements remained. The theater boxes were still there to seat people can browse through their book choices before buying.
Here, behind us is what used to be the stage. It's been converted into a cafe. Tables and chairs now fill the whole elevated space. Oh, can you spot the group who's having their picture taken too? Haha!
El Ateneo also houses music items. I spy an Imelda Marcos CD on the music shelves. It was so easy to spot because believe it or not, her CD was in front. I wonder if she is really popular in Buenos Aires.
So, if ever you go to Buenos Aires (lovely, lovely city), walk along Santa Fe Avenue and make sure to stop by this theater -- errr, bookstore.