Urania Cinema Budapest, or to be more precise Urania National Film Theatre, is in a beautiful building, which looks much more like a prestigious 19th century theatre with elegant ladies and gents strolling amongst the golden, velvety interior than a modern, dolby digital multiplex movie with popcorns all over. Somehow the whole place is surreal.
No wonder, these days you can see Metropolitan Opera HD live shows in the cinema! (there is a summer break and the season starts in October usually)
Urania Budapest was in fact built in the 1890s amalgamating the form language of the Venetian Gothic and the Italian Renaissance with Moorish and Arabic elements – built by Henrik Schmal.
Initially, Urania was a theatre indeed but by 1899 it became the home of the Urania Scientific Society whose lectures were mixed with films and photo projections (a huge technical achievement at that time of course).
The aim of the presentations was to make sciences popular amongst laymen, everyday Budapest citizens too. During the communist regime there were loads of film screenings with controlled content, praising the Soviet red army, the Soviet 5 year production plans, etc.
Since 1989, when Hungary became a democratic country, Urania Film Theatre has become the most prestigious cinema in Budapest with outstanding film festivals, and international film events. The building was awarded the Europa Nostra award in 2006.
Urania Film Theatre is on Rakoczi way close the city centre of Budapest, the Old Jewish quarters, Astoria and Blaha square (both an M2 metro stop). One of the hidden gems and less well know Budapest attractions.
Urania cinema is well worth a visit if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, or are staying 4 or more days in Budapest, Hungary and love beautiful architecture.
Urania Movie is one of the venues of the Jewish Summer Festival, Titanic Film Festival, the National Children’s Films Fest, and many more cultural events.
Photos of Urania Cinema (all taken by Jaime Silva):
The main doors of Urania Cinema / National Film Theatre, Budapest
Chandeliers in the Moorish Urania Cinema / National Film Theatre, Budapest:
The main hall / lobby of the Urania Cinema / National Film Theatre, Budapest:
The facade of Urania Cinema / National Film Theatre from Rakoczi ut, Budapest: