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Romuva Cinema

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Laisvės al. 54, Kaunas
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Another legend has turned out to be untrue… This is what the legend promised us: A cinema will soon be opened on Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue) and the most modern cafeteria in Kaunas will be on the same premises. True, there’s a cinema, but there’s no cafeteria…, went an article about the Romuva cinema that was published in Lietuvos aidas (Echo of Lithuania) on April 8, 1940. The rest of the article praises the builders of the cinema, Antanas and Petras Steikūnai, who made it both beautiful and comfortable for visitors. But let’s start at the beginning.

During the interwar period Laisvės alėja could have been called Cinema Boulevard due to the fact that as many as 13 cinemas were established on the street. This culture reaches the very beginning of the 20th century. Romuva was the last cinema to be built in independent Lithuania before the war. The war, however, did affect the construction of the building. The owners of the project, Antanas and Petras Steikūnas, had to postpone the beginning of the construction works as they participated in military exercises.

The most spacious and original, just like those in Paris, these were the words used to describe the 687-seat cinema designed by the architect Nikolajus Mačiulskis, also having in mind the ventilation of the cinema rooms. The acoustic solutions were reflected in the oval shape of the room, special upholstery, and a dome designed by Pranas Markūnas, a pioneer in reinforced concrete structures in Lithuania. There are more round shapes in other areas of the cinema. Professionals attribute these solutions to the streamline aesthetic that was popular in the United States at the time and is also known as a late example of Art Deco. Having incorporated the building into the depth of the site, a cosy public space was formed, reminiscent of another waiting room under the open sky.

The Art Deco façade of Romuva, especially its glass tower, which wasn’t illuminated due to war, quickly became iconic. The modern castle that made many Kaunas residents fall in love with cinema is currently the oldest cinema in Lithuania. It’s interesting that the cinema was called Romuva—a Baltic word—even during the Soviet occupation when its content was controlled by the State Cinema Board.

In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them the Romuva Cinema.

Romuva Cinema

Laisvės al. 54, Kaunas

Another legend has turned out to be untrue… This is what the legend promised us: A cinema will soon be opened on Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue) and the most modern cafeteria in Kaunas will be on the same premises. True, there’s a cinema, but there’s no cafeteria…, went an article about the Romuva cinema that was published in Lietuvos aidas (Echo of Lithuania) on April 8, 1940. The rest of the article praises the builders of the cinema, Antanas and Petras Steikūnai, who made it both beautiful and comfortable for visitors. But let’s start at the beginning.

During the interwar period Laisvės alėja could have been called Cinema Boulevard due to the fact that as many as 13 cinemas were established on the street. This culture reaches the very beginning of the 20th century. Romuva was the last cinema to be built in independent Lithuania before the war. The war, however, did affect the construction of the building. The owners of the project, Antanas and Petras Steikūnas, had to postpone the beginning of the construction works as they participated in military exercises.

The most spacious and original, just like those in Paris, these were the words used to describe the 687-seat cinema designed by the architect Nikolajus Mačiulskis, also having in mind the ventilation of the cinema rooms. The acoustic solutions were reflected in the oval shape of the room, special upholstery, and a dome designed by Pranas Markūnas, a pioneer in reinforced concrete structures in Lithuania. There are more round shapes in other areas of the cinema. Professionals attribute these solutions to the streamline aesthetic that was popular in the United States at the time and is also known as a late example of Art Deco. Having incorporated the building into the depth of the site, a cosy public space was formed, reminiscent of another waiting room under the open sky.

The Art Deco façade of Romuva, especially its glass tower, which wasn’t illuminated due to war, quickly became iconic. The modern castle that made many Kaunas residents fall in love with cinema is currently the oldest cinema in Lithuania. It’s interesting that the cinema was called Romuva—a Baltic word—even during the Soviet occupation when its content was controlled by the State Cinema Board.

In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them the Romuva Cinema.

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