Posts Tagged ‘Urania Mozi’

urania3The history of Hungarian film is almost as old as film itself. Since Adolf Zukor Michael Curtis, and William Fox left Hungary to help build studios and make classic movies in California, the country has remained a fertile ground for innovators and trail-blazers on the international film scene. It is only fitting that one of the grandest, most elegant movie theaters on the planet is situated in the heart of Budapest. The Urania stands as a functioning monument to the great artistic achievements of film and a tribute to audiences who still like to enjoy cinema in a proper movie theater.

The structure housing the Urania was constructed in the 1880s. Its original purpose was actually not film related: nickelodeons had yet to even debut at that point in history. The Urania was what is known as an ‘Orpheum’, which is a kind of cabaret/dance hall. Right before the turn of the century, it was refitted to be a movie theater, in order to first host a Hungarian Scientific Society’s presentation, and then later to accommodate the rush of interest in this new crowd-pleasing medium.


The architect, Henrik Schmal – who also contributed designs to a few of Andrássy Avenues’ more regal buildings – incorporated both Moorish and Venetian Gothic styles into his design for the Uriania. You can see how ideal the setting would be for any interior that is intended to invoke old-world European charm. Indeed, one of Hungary’s first locally made films was shot there so long ago.


The building fell into disrepair in the later part of the 20th century, but was totally renovated in 2005. By renovation, we don’t mean a tacky updating of the interior. No, the Urania was lovingly restored, with all the original fixtures kept intact. It would be impossible to craft such an ornate and opulent cinema today. As a landmark, it serves both as a tourist attraction as well as a venue for popular and art-house Hungarian film. Like the best monuments, it is in use and appreciated by the inhabitants of this city, which has contributed so much to the history of film.


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