The brothers, Jose and Antonio Lello, first started their bookstore in the late 1800’s and occupied the existing building on the 13 January 1906. As most of the population at the time was illiterate they commissioned, Xavier Esteves, to create this masterpiece to entice people to come to the bookstore and make them want to read. The interior features a magnificent spiral staircase, stained glass ceiling panel, plastered mouldings, intricate woodwork and of course rows and rows of books.
It is thought that J K Rowling, who worked as an English teacher in Porto for a few years in the early 1990’s and who was a frequent visitor, used the bookshop as inspiration for the Grand Staircase at Hogwarts and the Flourish & Blotts bookshop in the series. Thankfully so, because the bookshop which was once facing financial ruin has suddenly became a tourist hotspot and once again is bringing the world of books to its patrons.