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Welcome to another week of Travel Photo Thursday, week 265 (2/11/2016), and Porto’s stunning Livraria Lello & Irmao.
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You might be wondering exactly what Livraria Lello & Irmao is, or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to visit this little gem of a bookstore in Porto’s historic downtown. Here’s what TIME has to say about Lello…
“Rumor has it J.K. Rowling was inspired by Livraria Lello while writing Harry Potter (and teaching English in Portugal). It doesn’t take long to appreciate Lello’s potential as muse: a stained-glass atrium puts the spotlight on the bookshop’s deep red staircase, spectacular enough to stop you in your tracks. ” (Time: THE FIFTEEN COOLEST BOOKSTORES FROM AROUND THE WORLD).
The store’s neo-gothic facade is gorgeous, but with everything that’s going on around, it doesn’t really stand out! You’ll also want to take note of the red building across the street from the entrance. That’s where you buy your entrance ticket. Yes, there is an entrance fee. TIME helped to make the store very famous. With some many people just dropping by to see the store, selling books became a bit of a challenge. Now, visitors pay a 3 Euro admission, and should you make a purchase that 3 Euro will be credited towards your purchase (excludes the coffee available upstairs).
Here’s that stunning red staircase! Impossible to get a shot without someone on the stairs 🙂
Don’t forget to check out the back. Two interesting looking creatures support this beauty!
After you finish gaping at the staircase, you may notice a track running through the lower level. At the end of the track is this trolley that is used to haul books around the shop.
You’ll find lots of Harry Potter books for sale, in both Portuguese and English!
Climb the stairs and you’ll find yourself gaping again. This time it’s the gorgeous stained-glass skylight, and the ceiling design itself. The ceiling appears to be carved from wood. However, it’s actually painted plaster! In the skylight, framed by the Lello brothers’ insignia is the Latin phrase ‘decus in labore’ (dignity in work); the golden rule of Livraria Lello & Irmao.
The bookshelves and upstairs reading room. Isn’t this an amazing place to relax with a good book? There’s also a small cafe. I was a little surprised that they serve their coffee in Styrofoam cups!
I don’t think the cash register or book-stack ladder have been used in a while.
The staircase is just as beautiful walking down!
Downstairs you’ll also find a bas-relief representing Jose and Antonio Lello, the founders of the shop, along with the busts pf Portugal’s most prominent authors. While the brothers owned the shop, the bookseller, Mr. Domingos was its soul for 52 years.
“There were customers of the bookshop and then where were Mr. Domingo’s customers.” (Lia Lello)
Do you visit bookstores when you travel? Have you had the pleasure of visiting the Livraria Lello & Irmao in Porto?
___Address: Rua das Carmelitas 144 | Vitória,Porto 4050-161, Portugal