City Views Bonn – Metropol Theater- The End of the Story

 

Some days ago the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Leipzig rejected the complaint by the City of Bonn against the decision of Oberverwaltungsgericht Münster in 2008 that had considered Metropol Theater not worthy of  conservation. 

The judge  had argued that on occasion of the  restoration works (1987/1991)  the building’s historic character was lost because the original structure and decor were  partly removed and replaced. This means that Metropol that holds a very special place in the hearts of  the local population now can be converted into a book store, as desired by the new owner.

Despite the fact that the Pro Metropol Campaign collected more than 45000 signatures for the theatre’s conservation, and again despite that – in September 2007 – the Cologne Administrative Court had classed the building as highly worthy of preservation its seems that the story of Metropol, once Bonn’s no. 1 movie and entertainment venue,  now finally is coming to an end.  But, allthough the verdict  is final and absolute, many people are still hoping that somehow the beautiful Art Deco styled  building with its unique mighty pipe organ, equipment for theatres that screened silent films in the 1920’s, can be returned to its original use as a spectacle hall.

Metropol Theater, was designed by Cologne architect Toni Kleefisch and inaugurated on January 26, 1929. Luis Trenker’s  „Battle for the Matterhorn“ was the first silent movie projected on it’s screen. As music was an important part of silent films, Metropol, at that time one of  Germany’s most modern cinemas, as well as other large cinemas, employed it’s own orchestra.
Its very special charisma  attracted quite a lot of international celebrities from the world of cabaret, musical and theatre, as for example: Claudia Cardinale, Gerd Fröbe, Grock, Zarah Leander, Noni and Max Schmeling. Exclusive film premieres with red velvet carpet brought a glimmer of  Hollywood extravaganza to Bonn.
In 1982, an insurance company(WWK)  bought Metropol with the intend to knock it down and build a new complex. Because of angry protests of the local population the company changed its plans. 1983 Metropol was listed as an historic building. 1987/1991 the building was, according to the original plans, completely renovated by Jacob Stumpf. In 1992 UFA Theater GmbH & Co KG acquired the theatre building at Marktplatz. 13 years later, on December 2005 the company resold it for financial reasons. On March 15, 2006, three years before its 80th anniversary, the theatre was closed.

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