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Livraria Lello

Magazine Art + Culture | 03 Mar 2016


Way back in 1906, on the Rua das Carmelitas, in the city of Oporto, a building appeared, built for the most ambitious of purposes – to be a Temple to Literature. Clearly, this temple had to be a structure that would attract men of letters, bibliophiles and visitors, as much as an architectural object as a space for revering books.

The neo-gothic style of the Livraria Lello, built by Francisco Xavier Esteves, was not chosen at random. As the “Descriptive Album” explains, “gothic, in the history of art, has a prominent place next to more enduring manifestations, which the genius of the populations has left for centuries ahead”. And this intention was met entirely – ever since, in 1881, José Lello, man of culture, with the dream of becoming a bookseller, and his brother António founded a bookshop in Oporto, the Lello has remained, throughout 110 years and over four generations, as a place of worshiping the arts and culture, remaining true to the words written in the bookshop’s “Descriptive Album”: “nobody will cross the threshold of this door, who does not feel his spirit rise and offers it up for the meditation of intellectual life. […] Spring overflowing with wisdom, where the parched go to quench their thirst”.

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Text: Paula Monteiro
Photos: Livraria Lello

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