End of the World Cinema – Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt - Atlas Obscura
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Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, Egypt

End of the World Cinema

An abandoned outdoor movie theater in the Sinai desert. 

As you walk on the sand to get to the eeriest theater in the world, the scene feels distinctly post-apocalyptic. This deserted outdoor cinema has yet to see its premiere; its 700 weathered and worn theater seats languish amid the howl of the desert wind.

At the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, the abandoned movie theater, dubbed the “End of the World Cinema,” is a silent and bizarre view. It was built by Frenchman Diynn Eadel in the late 1990s, but suffered a power cut on what was supposed to be its premiere night. No one knows what went wrong, but some say the local authorities weren’t thrilled by the prospect of a movie theater in the middle of the desert and were the ones responsible for the generator’s malfunction.

At the time, Eadel told a visiting photojournalist that Jurassic Park would be the first movie to play at his Seventh Art Theater. According to the cinema’s introductory flyer, it was meant “to prove that tourism is not necessarily a destructive element and that the Great Theater of Nature can reconcile us with the elements.”

However, Eadel’s dream of a theater in the middle of the desert of Egypt remains unrealized, with no further plans of reviving the Sinai cinema. Today, the only audience rides motorbikes through the desert to see the rows of abandoned seats, with their aura of possibility and decay, backdropped by the Sinai hills painted on a screen of a sky full of stars. 

Update: The cinema was looted and badly damaged. 

Update April 2018: The area has been closed to tourists by the Egyptian Government.