Tel Aviv's First Cinema

IsraelTel Aviv

Eden Cinema is Tel Aviv's first silent film theater, which later became a cinema. In the early days of the city, and for many decades afterward, the Eden Cinema was one of Tel Aviv's most important cultural institutions and became an integral part of the history and nostalgia of the city and its residents.

The cinema was built in 1914 at 2 Lilinblum street in its intersection with Pines street, in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood, by entrepreneurs Moshe Abarbanal and Mordechai Weisser. Its name was given by the writer S. Ben Zion. It was initially built with one indoor hall, and later another open hall was added for outdoor summer movie screenings. Each hall had about 800 seats. Apart from movies, opera and theater performances were also presented in the cinema over the years, and various events took place. 

The first film shown in the cinema was the Italian "The Last Days of Pompeii". In the 1920s, the heyday of silent cinema, it screened many films made in Hollywood and Europe, accompanied by a full chamber orchestra. The first talking film shown in the cinema was "The Jazz Singer" in the 1930s, and later many Russian, French and Indian films were screened. For generations of children growing up in the city, the main attraction was American Westerns though.

The cinema was active until 1975. During the 1980s it was used by Bank Leumi, after which it was abandoned.

(Anecdote authored by: עמיר)

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