The “Splendid Palace” cinema is one of the most magnificent and long-standing European cinemas that has been bringing joy to film lovers with excellent and quality film art since 1923.
The cinema's programme is made up of high-quality art films, art house films from Europe and other regions of the world, as well as pieces that have gained recognition in film festivals around the world. One of the main aims of the cinema is to promote the availability and recognisability of Latvian national film art in a local and international sense. The cinema programme is complemented by live screenings of operas and recordings from world renowned opera houses. The “Splendid Palace” cinema has become a host for various film festivals, as well as continuing to amaze viewers with new and creative film projects.
The cinema is a member of the international film theatre network “Europa Cinemas” and “Art Cinemas”.
The “Splendid Palace” cinema is truly a place to celebrate film art!
ABOUT THE BUILDING
The cinema building, built in 1923, was the first in Rīga to be made exactly for the requirements of a film theatre. The building has an impressive Neo-Baroque style façade, but the interior dazzles visitors with its diverse Neo-Rococo style. The project for the cinema was drafted by the architect Frīdrihs Kārlis Skujiņš, but the decorative elements in the large hall were created by the sculptors Rihards Maurs and Jēkabs Legzdiņš. When you glance your eyes up to see the ceiling of the large hall, you'll be amazed by the opulent and bright ceiling paintings by Hermanis Grīnbergs.
The building has always showed films, that's why “Splendid Palace” has preserved its historic look and value as an architectural monument.
The “Splendid Palace” cinema was founded in 1923 by Vailijs Jemeļjanovs and Leonīds Falšteins ((JSC) AS “ARS”) and it was opened on 30 December. The construction of the building took 10 months and around 990 workers and the total cost was 850,000 lats.
Since its very beginnings, the cinema stood out due to an excellent film programme, perfect service, and during the silent film era – a wonderful orchestra directed by Oto Karlī. This was the first cinema in the Baltics to show films with sound. Since the thirties, it became the most important venue to show Latvian films.
In the beginning, there were 824 spots for viewers in the hall, but later this was expanded to a capacity of 1000. The cinema was doing great – statistics show that from 1923 to 1940 the cinema was visited by 6 million viewers.
After World War II Elizabetes iela, on which the cinema is located, was renamed Kirova iela, but the “Splendid Palace” cinema itself was renamed cinema “Rīga”.
On 15 September 2011 the previous name of the cinema was reinstated. The cinema celebrated its 95th birthday at the end of 2018.