Livraria Lello & Irmão – The Iconic Bookstore

The Livraria Lello & Irmão in the Historic Center of Porto, Portugal.

By virtue of its unique historical and artistic value, Lello has been recognized as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world by various personalities and entities.

With the project of the engineer Francisco Xavier Esteves, on January 13, 1906, the new Lello Bookstore building was inaugurated, at number 144 Rua das Carmelitas, causing great impact on the cultural environment of the time.

In order to adapt to the present times, in 1995, the service was updated and computerized, the interior of the bookstore was restored, having also been created a space of gallery of art and gathering that affirmed itself as an important cultural pole of the city of Porto.

As of July 23, 2015, the bookstore will be subject to an initial payment, discounted in the purchase of a book. The payment of this amount was destined to contain the high number of tourists and also to pay for conservation and restoration works. As a result of the application of this rate, in three months, Lello’s sales tripled.

On July 30, 2016, the first phase of the restoration was completed, which included the facade, the roof and the interior stained glass. The eight-meter-long, 3.5-meter-wide pane of 55 panels of glass by the Dutch architect Gerardus Samuel van Krieken was dismantled for the first time since its existence. It has been cleaned, restored and repaired, now offering a long-forgotten luminosity.

Lello’s staircases are also known to be the inspiration of the bookstore where Harry Potter met Gilderoy Lockhart in the book “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, since J.K. Rowling came to live in Porto. In 2016, the bookstore was visited by more than one million people, which makes an average of almost three thousand visits daily.

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