I love traveling through the provinces and visiting abandoned places, the significant part of my travels is spent in these locations …. Cinema halls, swimming pools, libraries, summer houses … Ruined buildings, well-preserved special aura, interestingly, these spots were brought to the Armenians’ attention by international platforms. Thousands of tourists come here from all over the world to appreciate the fascination of the ruins.
Jermuk’s Center of Culture
During the Soviet era, life was in full swing in the building displayed by concerts, various events, meetings with the people of art. According to the locals, back in those times, there was no lack of youth in this complex of buildings. There have been held different festivals, people from other cities and villages used to come to enjoy their time, watch movies and get acquainted with the culture here. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the cultural center got destroyed too, the library was robbed, or the books were just torn apart. One of the most beautiful buildings right in the heart of Jermuk has this look. The busts of intellectuals such as Aram Khachaturyan, Komitas, Hovhannes Tumanyan and Paruyr Sevak are preserved inside.
There was a time when we were all captivated by the legends about the magician Harry Potter, and not surprisingly, we desired to be in his place and start the academic year in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This building located in Shushi is just the same. According to the data of 1896, the school had 298 pupils, of which 236 were Armenians, the rest were foreigners. Every teacher in the school kept a separate report and grade book in which they took notes of students’ daily progress, laziness and violations of the code of conduct. Here they would hold public examinations, at which many high-ranking officials were present. Physical punishments were a part of the education. One of the former students of the Realschule, who had become one of the most prominent figures of his time, wrote in his memoirs that the basis of the education was the exactingness and regular beating.
Mikael Aramyants’ Chauteu
This magnificent Swiss-styled castle tells a lot about the lifestyle and activities of Armenian noble families in the XIX century. At the time it served as a Holiday House not only for Aramyants family but also became the gathering place for Armenian intelligentsia. During the time of Tsarist Russia, the benefactor Aramyants’ house was the only building having electric lighting in the Lori canyon. Also, Aramyants presented the first tennis court to Armenia. In the Soviet era, Aramyants’ house turned into a sanatorium and recreation center. By the invitation of Aramyants, Catholicos Mkrtich A. Khrimyan, Hovhannes Tumanyan, Alexander Shirvanzade, Vardges Surenyants, Feodor Shalyapin and Vsevolod Melikhori rested and hunted in Akhtala.
Aghasi Khanjian’s Summer House
For me, one of the most beautiful places in Dilijan is Aghasi Khanjyan’s summer house, a magnificent building, however, its conditions get worse year by year. The picturesque ceiling, walls and wooden interior are gone. Desolate conditions had their negative impact over the years. Khanjian’s summer house has always been considered a must-visit spot by the vast majority of tourists who stopped by it. It is registered in the list of attractions protected by the state, despite its emergency condition. On the territory of the summer house is also situated the “King of the Forest” tree. King’s head has a crown, and his arms are wide open.
St. Nicholas the Wondermaker Church (Amrakits)
If you lose your sense of reality while standing in front of the building, you will definitely think that you have moved into a fairy tale. This architectural masterpiece is located in the Lori region. The Russian Orthodox Church was built in 1848, however, 1879 is often marked and celebrated instead of the real year. The village of Nikolayevka (now Amrakits) was founded by Ukrainian Cossacks for Russian Orthodox people. Unfortunately, it operated only until 1988. The devastating and horrible earthquake of Spitak has also damaged this wonder. Being in an emergency condition, the church still attracts many tourists and even today if you visit there, you will meet several foreigners.
Translator Norayr Manvelyan