Lello Bookshop, an ambassador of culture
The beautiful and charismatic building on Rua das Carmelitas that is the Lello bookshop was inaugurated on 13 January 1906 and shows the fantastic design of the engineer Francisco Xavier Esteves. Still today, more than 100 years afterwards, this bookshop continues to be a firm favourite on the bucket list of all visitors to Porto.
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, the Lello bookshop also boasts a fabulous literary library. There are more than 100,000 titles in a variety of languages lining every wall of this temple to books. Limited editions, catalogues, magazines, ancient titles, books about Porto, encyclopedias, Portuguese and international literature abound and its variety is one of the principal reasons that thousands of travellers from all over the world visit.
"The Lello bookshop is an open door into history."
However, this literary heritage that is the Lello bookshop, was born long ago, when two brothers, José and António Lello, made the biggest decision of their lives: to devote their lives to culture and the arts. From that moment, in 1881, the dream of becoming renowned booksellers began to take shape. In 1894, they bought the Chardron Bookstore along with all their estate and started the process of building the future Lello Bookstore building on Rua das Carmelitas.
The opening of Lello allowed a simple bookstore to become a true temple to the arts, causing a huge impact on the cultural environment of the time.
Its mesmerizing red staircase, illuminated from above by stunning stained glass windows, is the main attraction for visitors and the subject of millions of photographs taken every year: after all, these breathtaking staircases were a source of inspiration for J.K. Rowling for the stairs to a bookstore described in the Harry Potter books.
The architectural details of the bookstore are steeped in history and enchant all who enter. The façade and stained glass of the space have undergone restoration works over the past few years, which brought the bookshop back to its former glory. Ornate golden columns and intricately decorated stucco walls envelop all who enter.
Even with the arrival of modern times, and an increasing amount of visitors, its current owners have not deviated from the family's fundamental objective to which the bookshop aspires to this day. as an ambassador of culture.