THE STATE CIRCUS OF CHISINAU
The original site of the State Circus (Circul de Stat Chisinau) is on 38 Renasterii Blvd. At the time being, the main entrance can be accessed via Grigore Vieru Blvd., which used to be a part of Renasterii Blvd. until 2010. The first building of the Chisinau Circus was built in early 19th century in the Alexandru Street, at the site of the present “Mihai Eminescu” theater. The circus belonged to the famous circus impresario Vilhelm Suru, who worked between 1870 and 1874. In 1874 the circus building was reconstructed and repurposed to be used as a theater. Towards the end of 1875 the theater building burnt down. Before the present construction was built, the performances took place in temporary buildings.
The Chisinau Circus construction was built in 1981 by the architects Ala Kirichenko and Simion Shoyhet and engineers A. Snipelishsky, T. Grryunov. The project was innovative and risky, considering that from the beginning, conflicts erupted between the sponsors “Союзгосцирк” (the Circus Union of USSR) from Moscow and the design team from Chisinau. Nevertheless, Chisinau State Circus was opened in 1982. The money required for the construction was allocated from the budget of the USSR as a gift for the celebration of 545 years since the first mention of the Chisinau city. The authors of the project were awarded the State Prize of the MSSR.
In 1988, a large sculpture group created by the sculptor Matvey Levinson was installed above the main entrance. The sculpture presents the image of two clowns – acrobats, who greet the visitors with a smile. This carve was included in the Register of Protected Monuments of the Republic of Moldova in 22nd of June 1999, as approved by the Parliament.
The Chisinau State Circus has hosted concerts and performances of both local and international artists (Belarus, China, Finland, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, etc.). Although the other circuses of the former Soviet bloc were having up to 14 performances per year, the Chisinau Circus used to hold the record with up to 57 shows a year, with a staff of about 60 people. After the collapse of the USSR, the circus’ activities have continued at a slower rate. Since 2004 the Chisinau Circus has stopped its activity due to the need for renovations. In 2006 the Circus was listed on the stock market, following a decree of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
In 2008 a usufruct contract was signed for a period of 29 years involving the Cypriot company “Pesnex Developments Limited”. The commercial operator was bound to take on the restoration and maintenance expenses, but failed to honor its contractual obligations. In March 2011, the 2008 contract was declared invalid by the Economic Court of Appeal, therefore the circus returned to Moldavian state ownership, but remains in an advanced state of deterioration.
For a long time, the small arena in the administrative area was the only place where performances were held. Currently, this small arena of the State Circus is being restored through a public – private partnership, with the official opening on the 30th of May 2014. However, rehabilitation works of all adjacent areas are still needed in this building, in order to function under appropriate conditions.
At present, the building of the Chisinau Circus is to be found in an advanced state of decay. According to the experts findings, the structural framework of the building is in good condition and does not require intervention, but there are areas where some of the decorative elements on the facade are likely to collapse (natural stone cladding, metal elements). A large glazed area of the circular building is broken, covered with fiberboards or walled up. Some of the marble tiles on the facade have disappeared and the main entrance is about to collapse.
The technical status of the building is quite good. However, it requires urgent intervention, the building being unusable at present.
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