Opened in 1894 as a night club, Urania is usually considered the first cinema in Budapest, screening movies since 1917. There’s something very fitting in watching a film in an historic building. In Florence, where I was born, old cinemas like this were shut down years ago, and Urania reminds me of the most beautiful my city had, the prestigious “Cinema Gambrinus”.
Inside there’s all dark wood and red drapes, elegant and oriental like many buildings in Budapest. The shapes in particular add the flavour of India to it and are quite similar to those of one of the most grandiose buildings in town, the Museum of Applied Arts. When it comes to the offer of the cinema, festival is the keyword for Urania. Basically there’s always one, or a retrospective, going on here.
I love to watch old Italian movies here, as well as getting to know more about local cinema and cartoons (every year there’s Anilogue, the International Animation Film Festival). A big plus of this cinema is that it is spacious and with several options to hang out there before a screening.
The café on the first floor offers basic snacks and beverages, which can be enjoyed in any of the many corners and seats of this temple of Orientalist architecture, a style that suits Budapest just perfectly.