Sunday, December 25, 2011

Azadi Cinema


Beside the central Book City, the other very good place near my flat is Azadi Cinema. It's just 20 minutes from my house to there by bus. Unfortunately, I went only one time there and it was for seeing the film Nader and Simin, a Seperation in May. Not because I'm lazy, this time because I've got no friends with free time to come with me to the cinema!

Azadi cinema complex is the biggest, the best, and newest cinema in Tehran and the whole Iran. It was first founded in 1969 by Rohani brothers. They first wanted to call it Broadway, but changed their mind about this Western name and preferred the name remind them of their childhood hobby, so they called it Shahr-e Farang. It means Peep Show in English and before the advent of films and cinemas in Iran was very popular.

Shahr-e Farang or peep show
The first film which was shown in this cinema was Marlic Hills by Ebrahim Golestan. Showing famous films of those times in this complex made it soon a hunt for film-lovers. Those days long queues in front of the cinema was a familiar scene for the people of Tehran passing Abbas Abad street.

Azadi cinema in the past


Later the name was changed to Azadi which means freedom, and it wasn't unusual since the Revolution 1979 names of many places and streets were changed to make the atmosphere more Islamic.

Written in Persian on the cinema wall: Azadi
The complex caught fire three times, once in 1976, and again in 1990 but it survived. It was in Friday 18th April 1997 at 1:50 pm when people watching the Iranian comedy film The Summer Vacation the air conditioners in the right salon caught fire and the fire was spread fast in the salon. People got badly scared and ran away. Glasses broke and thick smoke was everywhere. Though the fire-fighters tried their best, some salons were damaged badly. This made the cinema a to be closed for years.

Azadi Cinema after it was burnt


For 8 years there was a burnt broken building there till it was knocked down and a whole-new building was made in 2008. It has got 8 floors and 5 salons, including one 600-seated salon and four 200-seated salons., 2 restaurants, 3 cafes and 2 business floors. Every month around 120,000 people visit this complex, so it's number 1 highly-visited cinema in Iran.




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