Khiva in Tashkent / Uzbekistan


cinema Khiva Taskent postcard 1916
Postcards more than 100 years old are like jewels in my colletion. This is a real one. The postcard was sent in March 1916 and is of very good quality. I'm think it is made before 1914. Lilja wrote this postcard to her mother Milda Janson in Rostov-on-Don. The card was stamped in Rosov.
Lilja wrote, that Samarkand and Tashkent are small towns, there are only few Europeans. A postcard with a cinema and a car seems to be a sign of progress.

The cinema Khiva / Хива / Xiva  was built in 1910  by the architect Georgy Mikhailovich Svarichevsky, who was born in 1868 in the city of Chișinău (Kishinev, at this time Bessarabia, today Moldova). Until his death in 1936, he was very actively involved in the development of the city and region of Tashkent.

The owner of the cinema was Grand Duke Nikolai Konstantinovich of Russia (1850–1918), a grandson of Nichosla I of Russia. Nikolai was an officer and a womanizer too. He had an affair with a notorious American woman Fanny Lear. Due to his affair, he stole three valuable diamonds from the revetment of one of the most valuable family icons. He was declared insane and he was banished to Tashkent. He lived there in a newly built Romanov Palace. 

The Grand Duke was engaged in entrepreneurship. He was the owner of a number of enterprises in Tashkent: a soap factory, photographic workshops, billiard rooms, the sale of kvass, rice processing, soap and cotton factories. He was also involved in laying irrigation canals in the Hungry Steppe and was engaged in the improvement of the city of Tashkent. He paved the streets, built a theater, a club, a hospital for the poor, an almshouse, a circus and even a brothel. 

And this cinema, too. It is named after the city Khiva. Nikolai Romanov himself took part in the Khiva campaign in 1873. And not only the name reains the town: The external appearance of the building itself, smoothly plastered with loess clay without any tint, reminded of Khiva's kala buildings. The main corner entrance, with two three-quarter, rounded, slightly tapering upward towers, was stylized as a khan's palace. The auditorium was decorated with a cornice of 1500 blades of Cossack sabers and swords. The curtain depicted a scene of a parade of Russian troops - a copy of a painting by Nikolai Karazin from his famous Khiva Album. In the foyer, cages with monkeys and parrots were located, entertaining the audience before the film, and the walls were decorated with oriental landscapes.

Nikolai Romanov was the owner of the building and rented out the cinema. That was another very lucrative business. As a real monopolist, he already in 1911 bought out several land plots in the old city of Tashkent and built cinemas "Modern", "Sheikhantaur", "Elzhe" and "Moulin Rouge" on them.
It seems, that Tashkent and its region was his own kingdom ...

Max Vysokinsky is another person connected with Tashkent's cinemas. He became famous as a clown and later an enterpreneuer. In 1907, on the territory of the City Garden, he opened the first Tashkent's cinematographic pavilion called Electrobiograph. He later rented the Grand Duke's cinemas with much success.

At the beginning of 1917, the electrotheatre, already known under the name Winter Khiva (since there was also a summer theater Khiva), burned down. In its place, a brick cinema was rebuilt at the expense of the wife of Prince Nadezhda Alexandrovna. It was later given the name Young Guard and was popular until its demolition after the 1966 earthquake.

So many interesting facts about one cinema. This story should be made into a film ...

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