Liepāja Art Nouveau architecture stands proudly among the best examples of the style in Europe. The city has not only Art Nouveau residential houses, but also Art Nouveau Theatre, schools, former cinema houses, office buildings, villas etc. Several houses have very well preserved interiors, authentic staircase ornaments and paintings. Enjoy the 5km long route!
1. TIRGOŅU IELA 22. RESIDENTIAL BUILDING WITH SHOPS (1911-1912)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau, decorative elements with a transition to Art Deco.
2. KURŠU IELA 5/9. BUTCHER’S MARKET (1910)
Now Peter’s Market Pavilion. Architect – L.Melville, engineer – G. von Malm. Building’s volume is determined by the light metal construction typical to Art Nouveau, abundant natural lighting through the attic, facade division typical to Eclecticism with a lining system and decorative elements retained in an Art Nouveau manner. Renovation has maintained the original trade row layout.
3. KURŠU IELA 17. PAUL (PAVEL) MAMONOV’S RENTAL HOUSE (project of 1910)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Architects: Max Theodor Bertschy and Guido Bertschy.
4. KURŠU IELA 21. A. MILULES’S RENTAL HOUSE (project c. 1910)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. House designed after A. Milules’s commission by M.T.Bertschy and G.Bertschy. The staircase interior decoration and stairs themselves in this house are considered a part of national art heritage. The walls and ceiling are entirely covered with ornamental decorations: marbling, stencil and freehand painting, figurative and plot painting. The overall impression is supplemented by handrails and apartment doors, so it is not enough to simply half-open the street door – one should go through the entire staircase bottom-up.
5. ROŽU IELA 8/10. SEMYON KLEPENIN’S RENTAL HOUSE
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Originally the Liepāja City Jewish secondary school, nowadays – Liepaja Jānis Čakste secondary school’s No. 10 primary school. The building’s shape and the whole plot arrangement, however, suggest a rental house. Typical to Liepāja red brick and plaster combination in external decoration in this case highlights the verticality and characteristic decorative motifs of the composition.
6. PELDU IELA 33. K.SAULE-SLEINIS’S RENTAL HOUSE (1911)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Architect – Pauls Kampe, one of the most well-known Latvian historians of art and architecture. P.Kampe’s working presence in Liepāja is the prime evidence that architects from Rīga had also worked here during the Art Nouveau period.
Kampe had been inspired by the best examples of different European Art Nouveau schools. Maybe that is why the house is so simple and elegant and at the same time so exquisitely detailed. Unfortunately, during the Soviet era large apartments were converted into smaller ones, but the building’s external appearance has remained the same.
7. TOMA IELA 43. L.FREIBERGS’S DWELLING HOUSE (c. 1910)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Original iron gates.
8. TOMA IELA 49. DWELLING HOUSE
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. The building’s corner balcony is gone.
9. ŪLIHA IELA 66. RENTAL HOUSE
Perpendicular Art Nouveau.
10. ŪLIHA IELA 68. RENTAL HOUSE (1912)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau.
11. DZINTARU IELA 23. SWEDISH CONSUL K.EKBLOM’S MANSION (project of 1913)
During the Soviet period it was the House of Pioneers, later becoming an office building, nowadays being a mansion again. Architect – Lars Sonck, engineer – Charles Carr. It is the only building in Latvia ever designed by the world-famous Finnish architect L. Sonck.
12. DZINTARU IELA 16. WOODEN DWELLING HOUSE
National Romanticism. The makers of the facade’s decorative components were apparently inspired by Viking ornaments. This is one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau wooden houses in Latvia. The building’s original layout is clearly visible, many elements of its interior and setup have been preserved – ladders, doors, floors, including tiles, windows with mechanisms, ceiling plafonds, wall and ceiling painting fragments and other.
13. DZINTARU IELA 9. DWELLING HOUSE
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. In contrast to Liepāja’s typical street and courtyard layout with mutual distances, here the courtyard house is locked directly to the street house. The street house’s north-eastern corner plan’s configuration and the roof’s large overhang clearly indicate a lost porch.
14. REPUBLIKAS IELA 28. DWELLING HOUSE (C. 1910)
National Romanticism. The building’s main staircase is well-preserved along with its rich ornamental decorations.
15. REPUBLIKAS IELA 19. H. DĀRTS’S RENTAL HOUSE
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Originally, the building’s facade was closed off with a wide cornice, the small tower’s shape was also a bit more detailed. Regardless of the details, this house in the laconism of their volume reveal and confirm the beginnings of modern architecture in the style of Art Nouveau – the inhabitants of Liepāja did not meekly stagger behind changes, but have confidently accepted and adapted them to their city’s urban environment.
16. AVOTU IELA 11. RENTAL HOUSE
Now a multifunctional building. Perpendicular Art Nouveau.
17. AVOTU IELA 4. RENTAL HOUSE
Now a multifunctional building. Perpendicular Art Nouveau. The building’s exterior doors, balcony banisters and staircases’ ornamental decorations are considered a part of national art heritage. One can climb to the top and see that ceiling painting so typical to Liepāja!
18. GRAUDU IELA 45. MULTIFUNCTIONAL BUILDING (1913)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Engineer – C.Carr. During a modern reconstruction all floors have been significantly re-planned, the former courtyard is almost completely filled by an outbuilding, a glazed roof gable was attached to the building’s middle section, gambrel corner’s part was glazed and retail space on the first floor was renovated. Also, without changing the building’s main entrance portal’s shape on the street facade, new doors were retracted till the location of the former inner doors within the shelter belt, thus complementing this niche’s wall plafonds with modern paintings.
19. GRAUDU IELA 46. OSCAR THAL’S FASHION HOUSE
During the Soviet era this was a children’s store, nowadays – a furniture store “Raita”. Eclectically decorative Art Nouveau. The interior was significantly modified during the Soviet era. Despite multiple reconstructions, the original appearance of the street view has been preserved.
20. GRAUDU IELA 44. DWELLING HOUSE WITH SHOPS (1908–1909)
The large building on the street corner is one of the most heavily decorated Art Nouveau buildings in Liepāja – there are plant and animal motifs on the entrance portal and pediments, balcony railings and column lintel decorations made in the National Romanticism style. External division as a whole is markedly vertical, thus creating a broad palette of Art Nouveau techniques. The building’s apartment layout has been preserved. Same goes for the staircases, doors, furnaces and fireplaces. Unfortunately, during the reconstruction works in the first floor’s rooms, the last surviving in Liepāja two-story shop interior built at the beginning of the 20th century was lost.
21. GRAUDU IELA 36/38. KARL FISCHER’S RENTAL HOUSE (1913)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Architects: M.T.Bertschy and G.Bertschy. Premises on the first floor were both initially and during the Soviet era operating as a cinema, though at the beginning it was called “Victoria”, while in Soviet times was translated into “Uzvara”.
22. GRAUDU IELA 34. C.KAGAN’S RENTAL HOUSE
Perpendicular Art Nouveau.
23. GRAUDU IELA 28. DWELLING HOUSE (c. 1910)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau.
24. AUSEKĻA IELA 9. GIRLS’ GYMNASIUM (1912)
Nowadays – Liepāja State Gymnasium No. 1. Architect – L.Melville. Since the construction of the building, its purpose has never changed, therefore, not only a functionally very well-thought and still convenient in use floor plan has been preserved, but also the interiors of hallways and stairwells, the assembly hall and other rooms.
25. KŪRMĀJAS PROSPEKTS 2/6. RUSSIAN-EAST ASIAN SHIPPING COMPANY’S OFFICE (1908-1911)
Nowadays Kurzeme District Court. An eclectic volume with Art Nouveau decorative elements, windows and doors. Wooden entrance shelter-belts, wooden staircase and the first floor’s wardrobe layout were preserved.
26. GRAUDU IELA 27/29. KARL STEPHEN’S HOUSE, “PALASS” CINEMA AND A MULTIFUNCTIONAL BUILDING (1912-1913)
During the Soviet era the “Sarkanā bāka” cinema and the Executive Committee of the Liepāja district were located here, while nowadays – shops and offices. Perpendicular Art Nouveau. The building occupies an entire city block on Graudu iela. It is built in a modest style, has slender construction forms, explicit vertical accentuation, rounded corners, bay windows and balconies with decorative wrought iron railings. Though modest, it is still splendid, having decorations embedded in its plastering – elements of various geometric shapes, beautiful friezes. Currently the building is open to the public during business hours. On the interior the staircase (with a modern elevator), original housing planning structure, numerous doors and other decoration and interior features and an interesting courtyard have remained.
27. DĪĶA IELA 11. DWELLING HOUSE
Nowadays an office building. Perpendicular Art Nouveau.
28. PASTA IELA 11. DWELLING HOUSE WITH A PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
Perpendicular Art Nouveau. Bay windows crown a small terrace with a distinctive railing, consistent with Art Nouveau wooden entrance doors, which during a modern reconstruction were directed towards a deep niche. The house was built by a photographer Juris Bokums, who is the author of a majority of the early 20th century’s photo cards depicting Liepāja. In 1919 the Latvian Provisional government was photographed in this house, when Liepāja for a time became Latvia’s de facto capital.
29. PASTA IELA 1. RENTAL HOUSE WITH SHOPS (c. 1910)
Perpendicular Art Nouveau.
30. LIELĀ IELA 4. M. GORODIN’S RENTAL HOUSE WITH SHOPS (1909)
Nowadays a multifunctional building. National Romanticism.
31. LIELĀ IELA 5. STORE BUILDING WITH A RESTAURANT (1906)
Nowadays casinos. Architect – L.Melville. Facade is an eclectic building with decorative facade features typical to Art Nouveau.
32. TEĀTRA IELA 2. CITY THEATRE
Transition from Art Nouveau to Neoclassicism. Construction Project authors: W.Lossow and M.H.Kuehne, construction was started in 1912. All the major interiors have survived with only slight alterations.
33. BAZNĪCAS IELA 18. SEMYON KLEPENIN’S RENTAL HOUSE (1913)
Nowadays a dwelling house. Perpendicular Art Nouveau. In its time it was the most innovative object in Liepāja – a six-storey “skyscraper”, fully non-combustible, with all the amenities, including central gas and water heating.
34. BĀRIŅU IELA 21A. DWELLING HOUSE WITH SHOPS
Eclectically decorative Art Nouveau style. Exquisitely built street facade hides the fact that the house is actually built of wood.
35. A.PUMPURA IELA 7. RENTAL HOUSE WITH SHOPS
Nowadays shops and offices. Eclectic facade division detailed in decorative Art Nouveau style.
Paul Max Bertschy was the head Architect of the city from 1871 till 1902 playing the vital role in creating the distinct architectural ‘face’ of Liepāja at the end of the 19th century. Today you can see the special tablets with P.M.Bertschy’s signature that are attached to the buildings designed by the famous architect. Enjoy the 4,5 km long route!
1. Zivju Street 3, Remedlov Merchant House (1881)
Today’s Roman Garden building has been created as two separate pavilions with romantic inner yard. Front side of the
house accentuates rustic elements and elegant second floor pilasters in between windows apertures.
2. Kungu Street 20, Meier Residential House (1876)
Façades are pretty much ascetic with the highlighted risalit entrance. Exterior is finished with red bricks and pale plaster lines. The building has been reconstructed numerous times.
3. Ed.Veidenbauma Street 10, Braun Girls School (1875)
Architectonical design of the building is sustained in neo-renaissance style with some elements of gothic. P.M.Bertschy mostly preferred segment lintels are accentuated in the construction of this building and initially it also used to have natural shiver roof.
4. Kuršu square 5/6, Reconstruction of St.Anna’s church (1871 – 1891)
The location of the church is known since 1587. At first it was a wooden church, but at the end of 19th century it was rebuild according to P.M.Bertschy, constructing the steeple (in 1889) and the main aisle (in 1893). In the result of the reconstruction Liepāja received the outstanding neo-gothic monument and largest interior wooden altar (in 1697). The building fits greatly in the historical housing system and presents evidence of its author’s excellent understanding of artistic forms and proportions.
5. Rožu Street 6, Regional Court Building (1889 – 1891)
Ascetic facade approach is appearing in the way of red brick mixed with plaster finishing. The whole project is created in so called “imperial style”, that was common for 19th century Russia’s administration buildings. Semicircular windows openings ornamented with fine architectonical decor. The house has elevated base and rustic ground floor which both produce ponderous view. At the same time it is crowned with rather light cornice.
6. Peldu Street 15, P.M.Bertschy Residential House (1889 – 1892)
Initial shape of the building was similar to countryside villa emphasizing the Empire style – Renaissance transition time lapse. Front side has semicircular windows and architectonically decorative apertures finishing. After the reconstruction in 1913, led by Max Bertchy Junior, the house emerged in the present exterior.
7. Peldu Street 44, Residential House (1902)
Multifunctional Neo-gothic tenant house. Front side is romanticized with red brick and boulder lines. The architecture of the building is very harmonic and artistic. Additional accent created by use of oriel windows and extended chimneys with overhangs. WWII did not spare the building’s original roof and today it only can be seen ontop risalit tower.
8. Liepu Street 9, Children’s hospital (1900)
Very typical P.M.Bertschy style two storied red brick building integrated well into the surrounding park environment. Designing it P.M.Bertschy had well kept in mind the functional needs of the hospital.
9. Hika Street 12, Residence of Baron Nolde (1902)
The house designed in the countryside villa style, it stands a bit apart the street and has woodcarving elements in its exterior decoration. Ground floor is constructed of red bricks, yet the first floor of wood. Major value of the building is its rich woodcarving elements.
10. Peldu Street 59, SPA House (1902)
The building is designed pro Roman Villa and fits excellently within park landscape. One floor facade solution is symmetrical, with open loggia and slightly projective central risalit and pillar portico. SPA House front hall entrance enriched with natural light cupola.
11. Kūrmājas Prospect 21, Residence of contractor J.V.Rüge, a friend of P.M.Bertschy (1885)
Two storied building with elevated base does not fit into the tight urban structure. Main entrance is accentuated with the pillar portico and a balcony above. Facade finishing is mainly ascetic – red bricks and decorative window boards in
plaster. Frieze line is supplemented with ornate elements of mosaic.
12. Kūrmājas Prospect 16, Katsnelson Villa (1900 – 1901), constructed by the sketches of Berlin architect, professor Üne.
This particular house architectonical solution very much differs from other constructions of P.M.Bertschy. It was constructed pro Park Villa, with the facade in plaster and gradual pediment which give a neo-gothic silhouette. Roofing made from Dutch enameled tiles. Residence complex complemented with same style outbuilding and decorative fence.
13. Kūrmājas Prospect 12, Residential house and pharmacy for the pharmacist H.Grabe (1899 – 1901)
Multifunctional building is constructed from the preferred working material of P.M.Bertschy – red bricks. House is well integrated into the already existing net of the streets – it was built in very narrow angle. The composition of the house is well observed from the different points of location.
14. Kūrmājas Prospect 3, Marine Navigation School (1877)
One of the early P.M.Bertschy projects implemented against Liepāja Exchange Committee order. Central facade is roofed with tower used as observatory in studies and exercises.
15. Graudu Street 42, Bonitz pastry shop (1897)
Located at the corner of Kr.Valdemāra Street and Graudu Street the building was constructed in the extended angle creating the corner closure. Facade is highlighted by two risalits with cupolas. The whole front side is richly ornamented, particularly outlined by the metal balcony rail and romantic tower like constructions.
16. Kr.Valdemāra Street 4, Nikolay Gymnasium (1884)
The school is located in a bit distance from the street enabling the construction of presentable front entrance with granite pillar portico. Facade solution is found in red bricks, decorative metal elements and rustic plastering.
17. Kr.Valdemāra Street 14, Residence and office of contractor J.V.Rüge (1880)
Elegant facade finishing with Italian renaissance theme – windows framed with freestanding columns. Rustic plastered ground floor; cornice construction supplemented with Empire style elements.
18. Kr.Valdemāra Street 16, Residence of contractor J.V.Rüge (1874)
One of the most interesting brick living house examples, designed with asymmetrical towards facade entrance part. The house has elevated pediment and rich ornate cornice. An additional value of the house is metal relief work representing year of construction, displayed on the balcony.
Buildings pas en route
19. Republikas Street 14, Magistrate’s Court (1894)
One of the most laconic P.M.Bertschy buildings, it stands out with its robust, ponderous and unsophisticated facade finishing. At a closer look you can notice fine ornate details.
20. Republikas Street 11, Residential house (1894)
21. Bāriņu Street 26, Remedlov residential house (1879)
One floor apartment building with two floor central part, it was designed in the neo renaissance style. Constructed from red bricks and decorated with plaster imprinted details.
22. Dārza Street 14/16, City’s prison building (1891)
Very ascetic and unsophisticated building. Constructing it, the architect mostly thought of its functional use, building prison complex within closed quarter, fenced with massive brick fence.
23. Teātra Street 3, Bank building (1898)
The Bank is symmetrical, ascetic and a bit heavy look. The front entrance is highlighted and the second floor windows are decorated with fine architectonical ornate.
24. Kroņu Street 4/6, “Ramsay&Co” brewery (1877)
25. Kaiju Street 31, Stinci Family Vault (1882 – 1883) located on the territory of the Old Cemetery
26. Jelgavas Street 41, Fire Rescuers Station (1888)
27. Rīgas Street 71, Railway Station (1871)
The Railway Station building presents a large size construction with three risalits, plastered facade and Palladio type window.
The first public film show in Liepāja took place in 1898, but the real triumph of movies in Liepāja started at the beginning of the 20th century when several splendid cinemas were opened. During the Soviet period Liepāja could boast of having the largest widescreen cinema in the Baltics. The route includes 10 sites where cinemas had been historically located and the currently operating cinema ”Balle”
1. MOVIE THEATRE “KAMERLICHTSPIELE” – “KAMERGAISMAS TEĀTRIS” (CHAMBER LIGHT THEATRE) – “FORUMS”
Lielā Street – present location of Hipoteku Bank Liepāja branch
Prior to WWII bombings this quarter was occupied by several smaller size buildings instead of present large one. This was also the location (pre-war address Lielā Street 20) of the movie theatre “Kamerlichtspiele”. Later, at the time of Latvian language and culture renaissance it was renamed to “Kamergaismas teātris”. Finally, at the time of the First Republic the theatre got its last name – “Forums”.
Movies shown in the theatre represented various genres – from colorful East movies and harem scenes to Bible stories or popular movies with actors like Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and others.
On the morning of June 22, 1941 right after the announcement of German invasion to the USSR, anti-aircraft headquarters and improvised city transmission centre were set up for operation in the room above the theatre. All logistical, medical issues were managed from here. Same day afternoon the transmission centre was moved to the cellar, but few days later building collapsed under heavy bombardment.
2. MOVIE HALL “LIESMA” (FLAME)
Radio Street – wide sidewalk opposite the office building “Pasta Nams”
This was the location of the hotel “Europe” which concert hall hosted the first known film show in Liepāja. The only documented mention of it is in the newspaper „Либавский Вестник” of 1898 (with the unclear date). These are most early dated and found written evidence of movie presence in Liepāja. At the turn of 19th and 20th centuries Liepāja was thriving Russian Empire port city, hotel life was blooming and the concert hall of the hotel “Europe” was very demanding attraction place with performances of popular artists. There is information of legendary Isadora Duncan performance here on 1910. During First Republic time the movie hall “Liesma” was established here.
The hotel burned down in 1941, shortly after German army occupation.
3. MOVIE THEATRE “LIEPĀJA”
Radio Street – the location of present construction site of Concert Hall “Great Amber”
On December 29, 1974 the largest in Soviet Baltic republics movie theatre “Liepāja” was opened with the movie of famous soviet director Andrei Konchalovsky “Lovers romance”. It was an era notable cultural establishment often playing high quality movies from world leading festivals, movie classics, and famous 1980-ies French comedies with Pierre Richard and Gerard Depardieu. In the beginning of 1975 the well-known Mexican two-series movie “Esenia” (thought to be the predecessor of modern soap operas) was demonstrated here as well. The movie led the box-office for record 3 weeks, showing 4 times per day and produced income never seen in Liepāja theatres before even in nowadays. At the end of 1980-ies one of the first erotic movies allowed for viewing in the USSR – “Bedroom window” (1987) – was shown here. Some of the most conservative viewers not used for such freedom of expression even launched a wave of protest that had shaken the chair of the cinema director.
Different movie talks and readings with the participation of notable Latvian TV and screen artists took place as well. Upper floor hall often held art.
On December 12, 1997 the last movie was shown in the theatre – it was Latvian film “Likteņdzirnas”. In autumn 2005 the building was leveled with the ground.
4. MOVIE THEATRE “VIKTORIJA” – “UZVARA” (VICTORY)
Graudu Street 36/38
Historical movie theatre “Viktorija” was known during the soviet times as “Uzvara” (which is basically the same meaning in Latvian). The house was opened in 1913, yet movie theatre there opened a bit later. Most often theatre played movies with famous French silent cinema actor-comedian Max Linder. His popularity significantly increased after his suicide and he became a sort of tragic romantic figure character. His suicide was staged very dramatically, when he persuaded his young loving wife Gina to join him and they committed double suicide by injecting morphine, drinking poison and cutting veins.
Movie theatre was closed on December 28, 1974. The building still exists; there is a shop in the lobby of former theatre. The movie hall itself now is occupied by non-profit organization “Culture Centre “”Wiktoria””, but during the soviet time there was a sports club.
5. MOVIE THEATRE “PALASS” – “PALACE” – “PALAST” – “SARKANĀ BĀKA” (RED LIGHTHOUSE)
Graudu Street 27
Historical movie theatre “Palass” was well known as “Red Lighthouse” during the soviet time. It was opened on the New Year’s Eve in 1914 with the premiere by later worldwide famous cinematographer Eduard Tisse, which at that time was only a student of Liepāja photographer Emil Grenzing. According to documents, in 1930 here for the first time in Liepāja was played voice movie. Many contemporaries remembered how the first animated Disney movie “Snow-white and Seven Dwarfs” was played here in 1930. Several notable cinematography pieces like “The Indian Tomb” (1921) by Thea von Harbou with vivid India sceneries and lifestyle were played here as well.
“Palass” was very luxurious movie theatre, one of the best in Liepāja – with crystal chandeliers and expensive rugs, paintings on the walls and amazing drawings on the ceilings. Lobby presented the example of architectural design used in the movie theatres – big windows and cozy interior. At first, following the tradition of other grand theatres “Palass” demonstrated movies for public at the tables. After the outbreak of the WWI many Liepāja theatres closed and “Palass” had to adjust to the changes. The luxurious style was replaced by rather modest traditional cinema seating order.
During 1930-ies the theatre’s tenants were also circus and artist troupe “Hamburg Vaudeville”. They again equipped the hall with small tables and all performances were played in turns, often movies followed the variety shows in the entr’actes.
In the 1990-ies this movie theatre was closed. The building is well preserved and there is a shop inside.
6. MOVIE THEATRE “DZINTARS” (AMBER)
Peldu Street 66
The theatre was built in 1950-ies as a summer movie theatre. After installing heating system it continued to operate in winters, furthermore as a premiere theatre, where was possible to see movies that came to Liepāja for the first time. Yet, comparing to two other premiere theatres – “Liepāja” and “Red Lighthouse” one could watch here not so popular movies. Due to distant location “Dzintars” was not overcrowded. One could especially feel it during low-season in winter months when tourists and SPA clients flow to the sanatorium and beach diminished dramatically. In addition to that the choice of movies made the surviving of the theatre even more challenging.
The theatre was subsidized by the State during the soviet time, yet even then its staff was trying hard to get the profit and attract public, for instance, organizing the exhibitions dedicated to the movies in the spacious bright lobby surrounded by palm trees.
When “Dzintars” played a movie with popular stars, theatre staff was searching the information about this artist and handmade panels with description that put to the walls in the lobby.
Movie theatre “Dzintars” was closed in the 1990-ies and there is a bowling club “Dzintara boulings” now inside.
7. MOVIE THEATRE “DAILE”
Alejas Street 9
Nowadays the house of Liepāja Lithuanian Culture Society, in soviet times used to be movie theatre “Daile”. The foundation stone of this building was laid on August 16, 1931. During WWII it was single purposely used by German soldiers, but in 1980-ies – by kids as children cinema with minimum four children films per day. Otherwise was also used as “second screen theatre” meaning that movies shown here already aired in other Liepāja movie theatres. At the end of 1980-ies this place was a secret meeting place for the Popular Front of Latvia in Liepāja. Officially free entrance gatherings other than movie watching were not allowed in the movie theatres so as not to raise suspicions, therefore LPF arranged movies and requested 10 kopek entrance fee, but visitors were only those invited and included in the special ‘entrance list’. This was the movie theatre closed – in 1990 it was denationalized and given back into the ownership of Liepāja Lithuanian Culture Society.
Today building has several tenants including the skateboarders who installed the skate park in the big hall of the building.
8. MOVIE THEATRE “U.T.” AND “STAR”
Corner of Pasta and Graudu Streets
Historically on this spot (Graudu Street 35) was located two-cinema house building – “U.T.” and “Star”. The first one was periodically called as “The Express–Bio”, but the other one got name “Stars” after the establishment of the Republic of Latvia. Eyewitnesses described the repertoire as mostly melodramatic and romantic love dramas. Due to the repertoire and low entrance fee costs this theatre was considered not prestigious.
House destroyed during the city bombardment at the end of June 1941.
9. MOVIE THEATRE “ODEONS”
Graudu Street – today the location of Graudu Street 43a
Prior to WWII bombings this quarter was occupied by several smaller size buildings instead of present large one. The movie theatre “Odeons” was located at the historical Graudu Street 41 address. The house was built in 1910 – 1911 by architect Max Theodor Bertschy (son of famous Liepāja city chief architect Paul Max Bertschy). In the memories of contemporaries this house is called “Madam Feiges Cinema”. Feiges family belonged to Jewish community and their heirs now live in England. During the First Republic this movie theatre got the name “Tip-top”. So far no additional information has been found about the repertoire except few mentions about movie “From the diary of film actress Lia Mara” (1923). Seems that this film also contained some naughty scenes considering the name of one part called “Lia Mara takes a bath” and the additional note “adult content”. Lia Mara, known by real name Lisa Aleksandra Gudovitch was worldwide known Latvia born polish silent movie actress.
House destroyed during the city bombardment at the end of June 1941.
10. MOVIE THEATRE “ROYAL”
Lielā Street – park between tram stop “Kurzeme” and “Narvesen” stand.
The location of the theatre was around the stand spot. There was hotel “Hamburg” territory with the address Tirgoņu Street 2.
Contemporaries tell that this was the ‘intellectual theatre’ with the appropriate repertoire. In 1930-ies mostly Polish and Indian movies played here. Polish movie art of that time was mostly oriented towards national ideas, but Indian films had much of love, romantic songs and exotic dances. Other films played here include popular Latvian film “Wedding in Alsunga” (1935) with colourful Suits ethnographical style scenes, “Don Quixote” (1933) – the only voice film of famous Fyodor Chaliapin. Movie theatre “Royal” was the first cinema overloaded with Soviet films in 1940: “Baltic delegate” (1936); „Thirteen” (1936); „If tomorrow is the war” (1938).
House destroyed in the last day of the city bombardment at the end of June 1941.
11. MOVIE THEATRE “BALLE”
Rožu Square 5/6
The theatre opened in 2002 with the premiere of James Bond collection – “Die another day”. It is located inside the Liepāja Latvian society house. In the soviet time Society House sheltered Navy Officers House, Red Star award winning Baltic Navy Theatre and Battle Glory Museum. The particular area of cinema “Balle” has been fully reconstructed and rearranged. At the time of Navy Officers House there were restaurant, checkroom and one of the halls of Battle Glory museum dedicated to submarines history.
Today cinema “Balle” is the only remaining operating movie theatre in Liepāja