The Prometheus Cinema is one of the cultural places of Pripyat. It is located almost in the city center, near the amusement park and the river station on the waterfront. Once this was a very popular place among the Pripyat – near the cinema, they often appointed a meeting place for couples, they walked, went to the news of the film industry and discussed what was gone with friends in the cafe of the cinema. It was the only movie theater in the city. By the end of 1988, the construction of a new large double-screen cinema was planned in Pripyat, but unfortunately in 1986 the city froze and remained forever frozen frame … On the square in front of the cinema there used to be a statue of Prometheus (titan of ancient Greek mythology, protector of people, which brought fire) – just as Prometheus gave people to fire, so the cinema expanded the boundaries of the cultural life of the inhabitants of Pripyat. After the accident, the statue was moved to a site near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in order to protect it from marauders.
After the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, the cinema building was forgotten and abandoned, like most of the facilities in Pripyat. The area where the statue of “Prometheus” stood, during the liquidation of the consequences of the accident, was used as a landing pad for helicopters.
Today, walking along Kurchatov Street, we can observe how the area of the cinema is overgrown with grass, which makes its way through the cracks of concrete slabs, and the cinema itself is surrounded by trees. A mosaic with an interesting abstract pattern has been preserved on the sidewall of the cinema.
The interior of the Prometey cinema is showered with the debris of the former interior, but you can imagine how tickets were sold from the ticket office before – this is reminiscent of the premises with a cap and a table at which the cashier worked; safes for storage of proceeds, which are now randomly lying on the floor; how people sat in a cafe with stained-glass windows after a film session and discussed it, and in the auditorium itself you can see a couple of lonely chairs, in which no one will sit down; even in the cinema there was a toilet, on the doors of which was the inscription “we don’t smoke” – and indeed, they don’t smoke.
The striking mosaic by Ivan Lytovchenko, titled ‘Energy’ and created in 1975, adorns the wall visible from the main street. As you approach the front a small wide set of steps leads up to the entrance. When it first opened in the 1970’s large black letters on a blue background spelled out the name above the entrance. By 1985 this signage had been replaced by a roof-mounted sign common on many of Pripyat’s larger buildings. Walking through the doors of a then functioning cinema you’d have seen two cashier windows, a large café selling food, and several arcade machines.
Now, once you leave the brightly lit foyer, the light is at a premium. The main auditorium is dark, very damp, and generally unpleasant. The shredded remains of a screen cling to a rusting frame on the front wall. The majority of the seats have been removed. A large chandelier, also gone, once hung from the center of the ceiling. From the corridor outside, stairs take you up the projectionist’s room. As with many of the rooms its floor is strewn with rubbish and rusting metal. Anything of value long since removed including the projectors.
On the square directly in front stood a metal statue of Prometheus raising a torch skyward. In Greek mythology, Prometheus defied the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity. Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, sentenced the Titan to eternal torment for his transgression. Following the accident, the statue was decontaminated and moved to its present-day location in the Garden of Remembrance close to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant but the original plinth is still in situ.
Pripyat Music School
The Pripyat Music School on Kurchatova street. This building used to be full of music, with several rehearsal rooms and a big auditorium. The grand piano in the auditorium is one of the classic photos you can take in abandoned Pripyat today, unfortunately, we couldn’t take a photo here.
Years of abandonment show their signs. Most rooms are empty, only the piano reminds us of its former use.
The school had several practice rooms and a big auditorium with a grand piano. Most of the rooms are now completely empty, providing an eerie landscape where only two lonely instruments remain. With a large auditorium and several rehearsal rooms, the school would once have resonated with the sound of music.
The beautiful mosaic relief above the entrance was created by Ivan Lytovchenko in 1976 and is titled ‘Music’. There are numerous mosaics across the city, All of them were made by Litovchenko. They are made from Smalti, traditional hand-cut mosaic glass. The vivid colors are achieved by adding metal oxides. The color changes depending on the lighting. Up to his death in 1996, Litovchenko had doubts if the public will be able to see his works ever again. He didn’t know that in the 2010s, Pripyat turned into the touristic hotspot it is today.
A cool article about the mosaics of Pripyat: