Velikan in Sankt-Peterburg / Russia


Saint Petersburg Leningrad cinema Velikan postcard 1954
Cinema Velikan (in English: Giant) was built in the end of the 19th century and was used as The People's House of Emperor Nicholas II. Architect was Alexander N. Pomarentsev (1849-1918), he is famous for the GUM department store in Moscow

The People's House was a publicly accessible cultural and educational institution in pre-revolutionary Russia (and not only in Russia). They contained libraries, theaters and restaurants and served above all for adult education for both workers and the middle class.  There were 20 people's houses in Saint Petersburg before 1917. In this building there was also an opera hall.

After the revolution of 1917, the people's houses retained their functions under the control of the new government - they became Workers' clubs, Houses of culture and Palaces of culture.

From the first days of the 1917 revolution, the People's House began to be used for various meetings. In May 1917, the 1st All-Russian Congress of Peasant Deputies met here, at which on May 22 V.I.Lenin delivered a big speech on the agrarian question. In 1918, a meeting was held here in honor of Karl Liebknecht's release from prison. In 1919 the city was named Petrograd and the People's House was named after Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.

On August 15, 1924 - now the city was named Leningrad - in this building the largest cinema in the USSR Velikan was opened. It accommodated about 2800 spectators. From 1950 till 1970 it was used as a music hall, and from 1959 till 1978 as a cinema again. 

To demonstrate stereoscopic films, the concert hall of the cinema with 211 seats was converted into Theater Stereokino in 1955.

The postcard is from this time (published in 1954). You can read "Поют - singing" on the ads, but nothing connected with cinema on the picture. There is only written on the backyard: Ленинград кинотеатр "Великан" - Leningrad cinema "Velikan".

On January 1, 1978, the cinema was closed for renovations and alterations of the stage to accommodate a music hall. In May 1988 the Music Hall was opened in this building and and still welcomes its guests to this day.

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