Lello & Irmão Bookshop: Portuguese Hogwarts:
A small pearl located in the city centre of Porto, in Rua das Carmelitas, is the Livraria Lello & Irmão. The bookshop is one of the most enchanting and picturesque bookshops in the world, as well as the second, in order of antiquity, of all Portugal. It was built in 1869, under the name Livraria Internacional de Ernesto Chardron, by the architect Francisco Xavier Esteves. Only in 1906, following the sale to the Lello brothers, the bookshop took the name of the owners, assuming its current name.
Anyone visiting the port town for the first time is obliged to include this architectural gem on the itinerary, to which to devote at least half an hour. With the modest amount of 4€ you have the possibility to convert the ticket price. In particular, you can apply a discount on the expense of buying one or more books.
The wide variety of volumes on the shelves, which differ in language and in general, allows tourists to have at their disposal an immense catalog of choice. Precisely with regard to the large number of visitors from all over the world, the availability of texts translated into different languages increases the reputation of this library.
However, what sets the Lello & Irmão Library apart from any other, is its architecture. The building is structured in a composition inspired by both neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau style.
The majestic staircase, located in the center of the bookshop, resembles the Lafayette Galleries in Paris.
Both the inadized wooden walls, the colored skylight, and the soft light that illuminates the dusty atmosphere, make the bookcase a place of intimate and sacred recollection, in which to dream of living in other eras. A further peculiarity lies in the same columns that, garnished with bronze bas-reliefs, represent the greats of Portuguese literature.
In addition, there is also the presence of a coffee shop, which allows true book lovers to enjoy an atmosphere of peace and serenity surrounded by the most important tomes.
The most avid Harry Potter fans will also find similarities to the magic of Hogwarts in this magical place: not by chance, it is said that J. k. Rowling herself, during her teaching time in Porto, was inspired by the atmosphere of the bookstore for the construction of the settings of her novels. Also thanks to this, this destination has seen a resounding increase in visitors in the last twenty years, who are preparing to want to experience the charm of a timeless place. A further analogy to the Harry Potter saga can be found in the hogwarts student cloak, which recalls the dark hood of Portuguese university students.
In conclusion, a visit to what has been called the Cathedral of the Book is a must: not only for lovers of literature and Harry Potter, but for anyone who wants to make a leap into the past at one of the most magical places in Porto.