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Cinema Impero

Asmara, Eritrea
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The Cinema Impero in Asmara, built in 1937.

The Cinema Impero is an Art Deco-style cinema in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. It was built in 1937 by the colonial authorities in Italian Eritrea and designed by Mario Messina. Cinema Impero was the largest movie theater constructed in Asmara during the last period of the Italian colony of Eritrea. It was named after the conquest of Ethiopia by Benito Mussolini and his proclamation of the Italian Empire. The building still houses a cinema today, and it is considered by the experts one of the world's finest examples of Art Deco style building.

Cinema Impero is still preserved after 70 years, escaping damage during the several conflicts over the past century. It is a tourist attraction in modern Asmara, along with the famous [sFiat Tagliero Building and some other Italian-period structures including the Presidential Palace and the City Hall.


The building structure has not been substantially altered since its construction, as designed by architect Mario Messina. Most of the equipment and the seats are all original. Forty-five round lights decorate the front with 'Cinema Impero' in illuminated letters, mounted vertically on the facade. It certainly is a landmark building, especially at night. Several pairs of doors lead into the cinema. Each door an impressive large semi-circular handle forming a full circle with its partner when both are closed.

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bostjan, August 4th, 2017
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