Back when going to the movies warranted wearing your Sunday best.
Egypt was once the hub for cinema in the region. The art form came to Egypt with the start of world cinema, and the Egyptian film industry was once on par with Hollywood. And as the craft flourished in the country, movie theatres became common structures and even architectural landmarks around the country. These theatres saw Egypt's early cinematic masterpieces and the eager movie-goers who dressed to the nines just to watch them. With a little (read a lot of) help from CinemaTreasures, we were able to find a few of them still standing.
Opened sometime before the 1950s, Piegal Cinema, located in downtown Cairo, originally screened French films.
Established in 1948, Cinema Radio is located in the heart of downtown Cairo on Talaat Harb street. The theatre was originally one large cinema hall which boasted Cairo’s largest screen, but has since been split into a cinema hall and a theatre hall. In recent years, Cinema Radio came to the spotlight again after hosting Bassem Youssef’s Al Bernameg in its theatre hall.
Also located downtown, Rivoli was founded in 1948 by British entertainment conglomerate Rank Organisation. It originally screened British films, and seated 2,150 people.
Originally called Diana Palace cinema, the movie theatre was established in the 1930s. Damaged by a bomb in 1952, the cinema was renovated and later renamed to Diana Cinema in the 1960s.
Karim Movie Theatre
This theatre opened in the 1940s under the name Femina Cinema, and was renamed to Capitol Cinema in the 60s. Now re-furbished and renamed to Karim, the cinema mainly screens action movies.
Established in 1940, the cinema was a project to screen MGM movies in Egypt. The cinema opened with the Egyptian premiere of Gone With the Wind.
Built in the 1940s, Lido cinema was burned down in 1994, only to be resurrected from the ashes 20 years later.
Located directly across the street from Metro cinema, Miami cinema was established in the 1940s and originally screened Arab movies.
Cairo Palace Cinema
This cinema opened in 1945 with the screening of Betty Garble's Pin-Up Girl. For many years, Cairo Palace was the only movie theatre in the city to screen 20th Century Fox pictures.
Launched in 1920 and originally called The Cosmographe, Cosmos is one of the oldest movie theatres in Cairo. It was later renamed to Cosmos, and is now a 5 screen theatre which offers both Arabic and English films.
Established in the 1940s, Odeon initially specialised in Russian and Italian films.
Ali Baba Cinema
Located on the 26th of July street, the cinema was founded in 1946. Although it is still running, Ali Baba is unfortunately very run down.