I can’t provide many facts about this abandoned swimming pool in Yerevan. A Google search, even in Armenian, brings up nothing and we also asked around while we were in the city but nobody could shed any light on what period it is from and why it fell into abandonment. But, I did make a few assumptions of my own.
The pool and the adjoining building are located immediately to the east of one of Yerevan’s largest stadiums, Republican Stadium. It’s only been known by this name since 1999 and prior to this date, the original arena, which has undergone several renovations over the years, was called Dinamo Stadium and it dates back to 1935. What’s more, there is a sports school and a large playing field nearby and my theory is that each of the facilities, including the swimming pool, was once part of the same sports-related complex.
The actual swimming pool and the distinctive-looking diving board looked 1970s or 1980s Soviet in design in my opinion but, the attached building looks much older – still from the Soviet period but more Stalinist Empire style (1930s through to the 1950s) rather than brutalist. There is detail on the exterior of the building, the columns for example, and the remains of a statue, which I didn’t get to photograph because of the darn dogs (see below), that would imply that the structure was once quite ornate. And actually, inside, there was nothing to suggest that the building was part of the swimming pool per se anyway. There were no obvious changing rooms and we also found the remnants of some rather fancy wallpaper on the walls of some of the rooms, which I doubt you’d find in regular structures attached to a swimming pool (you certainly didn’t in my local baths, that’s for sure!).
So, I reckon that the building was erected not long after or at the same time as the original Dinamo Stadium and the swimming pool and diving board were added later. Alternatively, if I’ve got it wrong about the pool, everything could date back to the mid-1930s and it just so happened that going for a dip was a more sophisticated affair back then than it is today.
In theory, entering the property and going outside to the swimming pool was very easy. The front entrance to the main building was completely open and there were no barriers whatsoever. Once inside, it was possible to go down a couple of flights of stairs and exit to the outer area where the pool and the diving board were located. We also found a second entry point that took us directly to the swimming pool. This involved walking in a northerly direction, past the main building, and taking the first left down a steep path and then another left along a dirt track that led straight to the outside area of the complex.
Access, therefore, wasn’t an issue but the pack of dogs that had evidently made the place their home was. We happened to pass by (and visit) the location twice. On the first occasion, we went in via the main entrance and from a vantage point on the top floor, we could see about six dogs lounging around the base of the diving board. As soon as they heard us, and then spotted us, they made it quite clear that we weren’t welcome to come down for a closer look and we adhered to their warning. The next time, we gingerly crept in via the alternative way I described above. The dogs were nowhere to be seen so we ventured closer to the diving board and took some shots. Photos taken, we were on our way out and very close to exiting the area completely when suddenly the dogs started barking in unison. They had spotted us but we couldn’t see them. There was only one thing to do and that was to run like hell and not look back. We love dogs, me especially, but they are a pain in the arse when it comes to exploring abandoned locations so if you do decide to visit this one, keep in mind that they might not be visible but are still lurking somewhere on the premises.
Thank you to Robert Candra, aka bobby_tinnitus for bringing this place to our attention and helping us locate it.