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Century-old Buenos Aires theatre gets new lease of life as bookstore
A century-old theatre in Buenos Aires has received a new lease of life, after it was converted into a bookstore that has become an unlikely tourist destination in the Argentine capital. The Grand Splendid was originally opened in 1919 and in its glory days it was home to a variety of theatrical shows ranging from tango artists to plays. Built by Max Glucksmann, a pioneer in Argentina's phonographic and film industry, the theatre was later converted to a cinema but throughout the 20th century remained a landmark in the capital for culture. But in the 90s the building was destined for the wrecking ball with the Argentine economy suffering at the time. The owner of Argentine bookstore chain El Ateneo saved the day, spending millions in an extensive restoration of the former Teatro Grand Splendid into one of the world's most majestic bookstores. The bookstore gives a nod to its theatrical past, with the stage and its curtains still in place and its beautiful ceiling frescoes fully restored. Old theatre boxes provide private space for a quiet read. Around a million people from Argentina and around the world visit the 21,000-square food bookstore, a paradise for bookworms.