Society 11:25 20/09/2018 Armenia

Daily Mail: Inside the luxury Soviet airport that now faces demolition in Armenia

It looks like a monolithic space-city straight out of science fiction, but in reality it was one of the jewels in the Soviet crown, Daily Mail says in an article about Armenia’s Zvartnots airport.

Terminal 1 at Zvartnots airport in Armenia once welcomed Kremlin VIPs and visitors from across the USSR. Now it sits abandoned, under lock and key, and facing demolition.

After it was built in the 1970s, more than 2,500 passengers crowded through the country's most modern airport terminal every hour.

For them, it was the height of luxury with a restaurant high up on the central control tower and views across to the Armenian capital Yerevan.



Now stepping inside Zvartnots, once the crossroads of Europe and Asia, is like being transported back four decades. The grand entrance hall and the soaring concrete and marble walls are now crumbling.

The cracked ceiling is leaking, and the runway viewing windows are broken or missing. But British architects are leading international calls for it to be saved from the wrecking ball. These exclusive photographs show the iconic revolutionary building and capture the last pictures of its ghostly interior.

Leading British architect Tim Flynn says the airport is an outstanding piece of architecture. His London-based international practice has had an office in Yerevan for 14 years.

And he hopes that the new, more democratic government in Armenia which came to power after May's Velvet Revolution will decide Zvartnots is a historical building worth preserving.

And yet he warns the longer it's left to crumble away, the chances of saving it diminish.

The owners want to demolish more of the old airport to make way for a multi-million pound expansion of the new international terminal. But they are being fought by the daughter of the original airport architect, Anahit Tarkhanyan, whose father, Artur, was part of a prize-winning team that made the original Zvartnots terminal a symbol of Armenia, featured on postcards and tourist brochures. Now Anahit is running for mayor of Yerevan, with a mission to fight the demolition.

Clem Cecil, of SAVE Europe's Heritage and director of London's Pushkin House, the Russian cultural centre, said: “The Zvartnots building is a classic of its kind – it should be saved. It was built in a period when Stalin's grip had been broken and Soviet architects were experimenting with international influences.”

She added: “Zvartnots is very cutting edge and reflects the excitement of the times. The problem is it's been under-appreciated and vulnerable. The fact there's a growing effort to save it is good news.”



Source Panorama.am
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