Built in 1906, the Livraria Lello and Irmão has been described as one of the finest bookshops on the planet. I would dispute this as the selection of books are nothing out of the ordinary; however, the spectacularly ornate interior is. Featuring interwinding central staircases, sumptuous wood carvings, stained glass and a bridge, the decor more fitting of a catheral than a bookstore!
Now, I assume that most people visiting are the Livraria Lello e Irmão not going to be looking for a book, so I'll concentrate on the building!
The building was designed by architect Xavier Esteves and opened 1906. The styling is ecclectic to say the least, with a neo-classical / moorish inspired facade leading into a wonderland of Art Nouveaux excess. I read somewhere there are even hints of Gothic Revival to be found. If all that doesn't mean too much to you then the photos are pretty self explanatory!
It is little wonder that the Lello and Irmão bookstore is believed to have provided much of the inspiration for the Hogwarts School building in the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling was actually an English teacher in Porto during the 1990s.