The Kinodvor Cinema: History and Quality Current Scene

Ljubljana is a city of culture with an abundance of museums, galleries, and various artistic and educational institutions that make its pride and allow it to be considered for the title of 2025 European Capital of Culture. The Kinodvor Movie Theater is one of the city’s main cultural centers that you should not miss for the world during your trip to the Slovenian capital.

Funded in 1923, the Kinodvor Cinema was one of the firsts movie theaters to open in Ljubljana. Nowadays, this municipal cinema is on a mission to democratize access to movies but generally to art and culture through the inclusion of every public and quality and diverse program of independent and international film.

Here is a quick guide of how the Kindovor developed to become the heart of Ljubljana’s cultural and artistic film by promoting an unparalleled quality program with numerous outstanding festivals and global diversification. 

History of Ljubljana’s Oldest Cinema

The Kinodvor that we know today inherits from an almost centenary history that goes back to the 1920s when cinemas started to flourish all around Europe. Constructed under the name of Ljubljanski Dvor City Cinema at 13 Kolodvorska, it was meant to become the city’s luxury cinema, and was then built in a beautiful Art Nouveau style.

Most of the Programmation at this time was dedicated to silent European and American movies directed by the biggest names of the international scene, such as Charlie Chaplin, Fritz Lang, Jean Renoir, or again Cecil B. DeMille. In 1929, it projected Erotikon, the first film of Slovenia’s major star, the actress Ita Rina.

The cinema was renamed Kino Sloga in 1935 when the Sloga railwaymen’s cultural society was put in charge of the place’s management. However, as soon as 1946 and according to the context of communist Yugoslavia’s establishment, the state nationalized all of the Slovenian movie theaters, including this one.

In the 1980s, after the death of Tito, the place was turned into a “Red Light” cinema, famous for the erotic film screenings that allowed it to gain in notoriety. By the 1990s, the movie theater became the Kino Dvor, the Dvor Cinema in English, recovering more usual activities. 

However, the place’s most significant challenge to overcome was the beginning of the 21st century and the development of large multiplexes all around Slovenia that concurrence the small structures like Kino Dvor. The place’s saving grace was finally the Municipality of Ljubljana that chose to make of the new Kinodvor the city’s home for contemporary and independent art films, thanks to the collaboration of the Slovenian Cinematheque.

For its 80th anniversary in 2003, the Kinodvor was briefly closed in order to be technologically upgraded and renovated. In 2008, it was established as a public institution by the Municipality in May and reopened in October. At this moment, it acquired the mission of being the City public and municipal cinema, in charge of a quality independent program of screenings but also exceptional experiences and events.

Programmation, Festivals, and International Projects

Kinodvor is famous for offering a comprehensive quality and innovative programming, that was moreover acknowledged by the 21st Europa Cinemas network conference that took place in Lisbon in November 2019. Indeed, the Kinodvor cinema was given the glorious Europa Cinemas Award for Best Programming this year.

This distinction also rewards the fantastic work put by the cinema in the organization of many international conferences such as ‘Networks and the Digitisation of Art Cinemas’, for example, the first event of its kind organized in Kinodvor, that took place in 2009. 

Endorsing this role allowed it to play an essential part in the revitalization of the Slovenian arthouse network, the communication with other European cinemas, and to explain the strategic issues behind the digitalization, the role and future of cinemas, and the necessity to educate the young public. 

The Year of Cinema

At the occasion of Kinodvor’s 90th anniversary in 2013, this film festival was designed to trace the Slovenian film history and inform and discuss the country’s film culture’s development. The organization of this event was made possible by the participation of the Slovenian Cinematheque that accepted to provide its expansive archives. 

This event was also meant to highlight the significance and specificity of small cinemas like the Kinodvor that represent real artistic, social, and cultural hubs in the cities. 

Kinobalon, the Kinodvor Youth Screening Program

One of the most innovative highlights of this movie hall is its desire to make cinema accessible for everyone and promote especially children’s inclusion. This way, it designed the Kinobalon program for the youth, which proposes screenings of selected movies on weekends, which are sometimes completed with workshops and screenings during the week. 

This program was rewarded with the Best Young Audience Activities Award at the occasion of the 15th Europa Cinemas Conference that took place in 2010. Kids can also benefit from the Elephant program, made for everyone regardless of their age: it is an educational animated film program that cares about teaching the specificities of a good animation movie.

Films Under the Stars

The Film Under the Stars is a cycle of screenings that was first organized in 1999 and took place every year ever since at Ljubljana Castle, on the Summer nights of July and August. Every day at 21.3., you can enjoy a different fantastic movie.

The program selection is made regarding the past year’s best international offer and, eventually, films premieres, with the cooperation of the Ljubljanski grad Public Institute of the Municipality of Ljubljana. 

A Café and Film Bookshop

The Kinodvor Cafe is unique in its kind in the Slovenian capital. This tiny film bookshop is heaven for cinephiles that want to purchase the original oeuvres that inspired their favorite movies or specialized film books, as well as soundtracks or DVDs. A lovely must-see gallery was also put in place, but you can either go there only to enjoy a delicious sweet treat.

Here are the opening hours of this beautiful place:

Monday – Friday: from 10:00 to 24:00

Saturday – Sunday: from 10:00 to 24:00

A Summer terrace is also open daily until midnight from April to November.

Steps Forward and Future Developments

The Kinodvor has become more than just a movie theater as they put an incredible amount of effort in order to become an educational center that wants to make cinema and art, in general, accessible for everyone. It goes with the organization of many memorable complete events, but also with the establishment of interesting tariffs, a development strategy, and the implementation of inclusive devices.   

Inclusivity and Tariffs 

This way, Kinodvor is accessible for the death and hard to earing since the place was recently equipped with a system of hearing aids connection, a Loop system that can easily be connected to your devices by the staff. Also, the Main Hall, the bookshop and café, and the WC are all entirely accessible to wheelchair users. 

These measures also come with discount rates and a free entrance for your accompanier. In a more general way, the Kinodvor cinema wants to be open and affordable for everyone in order to promote art and culture. It is then cheaper on Mondays, for example. Here comes a grid rate of the current tariffs:

Standard Price (weekdays from 16:30 to 22:30, weekends and holidays):

5,30 € for the Main Hall; 3,80 € for the Small Hall.

Concessions: 4,50 € for the Main Hall; 2,90 € for the Small Hall.

Dvorni dan (Dvor Day, every Monday): 3,80 €.

Kinodvor Club Members: 3,80 € for the Main Hall; 2,90 € for the Small Hall.

Screenings before 16:30 and after 22: 4 € for the Main Hall; 2,90 € for the Small Hall.

Groups (4 to 9 persons): 4,25€.

3D screenings surcharge: 0,50 €     

Disabled Visitors (free admission for accompanying person): 2,70 € for the Main Hall;1,90 € for the Small Hall.    

Special Shows and Mobile Cinema Shows: from 2,00 € to 10,00 €.

The Kinodvor 10 Expansion Project

Kinodvor is then a tremendous public institution where everyone can come on a regular basis and enjoy the place’s cultural and pedagogical benefits. In order to expand this fantastic offer, the cinema wishes to develop another multiplex in Ljubljana, to attract and cultivate more and more people.

The Kinodvor 10 is a project created in collaboration with the Municipality of Ljubljana in the Ajdovscina underpass to propose different events and extra screenings to satisfy the curiosity and everyone’s taste. 

Let’s Go to the Movie!

Finally, we can say that the Kinodvor cinema has the most eventful history amongst the other movie theaters in town, and offers the most specific and quality program in Slovenia thanks to many events and festivals. It is also the perfect place to enjoy movies in their original versions, such as French movies or current international success in a fantastic frame, notable thanks to the films Under the Stars.

The Kinodvor cinema will give you a sense of the Slovenian history and show you the best of the current Slovenian scene, so let’s give it a try. I particularly recommend you come for a Sunday Breakfast: every week, the cinema offers free croissants and coffee and even provides a babysitter for your kids!

Kinodvor Cinema
Kolodvorska 13, 1000 Ljubljana
phone: +386 (1) 239 22 17

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