Haunted Places to Visit in Armenia
Step into a millennia-old nation, where every cobblestone holds a story, every shadow conceals a legend, and the timeworn walls of abandoned buildings echo with whispers of the past. Here we unveil a blend of distinctive, vibey, nostalgic and sometimes spine-tingling places to explore.
Stepanavan’s Haunted Church
Nestled in the quaint Amrakits village of Lori, the hauntingly beautiful St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker Russian Orthodox church has stood in silent communion with nature since the tumultuous events of the Spitak Earthquake in 1988. The structure traces its roots back to the 1850s when it was erected by resilient Slavic families who travelled from the picturesque Georgian town of Borjomi to establish the enclave of Amrakits. Now, in its abandoned state, it’s a perfect place to visit for a Halloween photo-shoot.
A relic of Armenia’s Soviet-era past, the Eraz van was once a popular vehicle manufactured just outside of Yerevan. The first cars were produced in 1966, but the company filed for bankruptcy in 1995. You can still explore the factory, which has housed art installations, for a vibey self-led tour. Fun fact: the name ErAZ is actually an acronym for “Yerevan Automobile Factory'' in Russian (Erevanski Avtomobilny Zavod), but it sounds like the Armenian word for “dream.”
The Pedestrian Tunnel
Connecting the Buzand park of central Yerevan with the Children’s Railway, the long and dimly let pedestrian tunnel is especially creepy to explore at nighttime. Take some cool photos, test out the amazing echos and explore the collection of graffiti that extends from the beginning of the tunnel to the very end. Once you reach the other side, continue across the street and to your left to explore the riverside Children’s Railway, which no longer operates. That too is a gem in itself.
Levon’s Divine Underground
When builder Levon Arakelyan’s wife Tosya asked him to make an underground potato cellar next to their house, he agreed. But the digging and carving lasted for 23 years! Spurred on by a celestial voice to keep at his work, he dug much more than a cellar. Levon’s Divine Underground is a network of holy caves, replete with rooms, stairs and sanctuaries. It extends 21 metres deep and occupies 300 square metres of space. Using only hand tools, Levon worked up to 18 hours per day on his mission. In his honour, Tosya now runs a small museum dedicated to the project. For 2,000 AMD, you can tour the underground network and explore project-related artefacts and memorabilia.
A City of Caves
Did you know that, until the 1950s, people lived in caves in the village of Khndzoresk? They built homes inside the geological formations and expanded them by hand, directly into the cliffside. Just a 15-minute drive from the town of Goris in Armenia’s Syunik region, Khndzoresk is a must-visit destination and more than a little spooky when the fog sets in. Add this mind-blowing village to your bucket list, but be aware – you have to cross a long, swinging bridge over a deep gorge to get there! If caves are your thing, there are lots of other natural ones to explore around Armenia too. Check out our compilation of the top ones here.
Dating to Soviet times, bunkers can be found hidden throughout Armenia. Each has a different story, but all were built as places of refuge in case of calamity. Most of them are completely abandoned, and few people know exactly where they are located. Find a local tour guide to take you for a blast from the past.
The Dilijan Sanitorium
The government sanatorium is also worth a visit for those who appreciate Soviet-era architecture and history. The building once served as a rest house for military families. It is still functioning today, but to a much more limited extent. When you enter, you’ll understand why we included it on the list.
The Iron Fountain
Gyumri's distinctive iron fountain was built in 1982 near the Polytechnic Institute. Created entirely from cast iron, it was designed by the famous architect Rafael Israelyan. The fountain stopped functioning in 1988 and the surrounding neighbourhood is in a state of disrepair; nevertheless, it’s worth visiting for its unique and intricate design created by mastermind Artur Tarkhanyan, the architect of the Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex and Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan.
Remnants of Armenia’s millenia-old Christian tradition, abandoned monasteries dot the mountaintops, forests and meadows. There are more than 4,000 across the country! You can even find a legendary one in the middle of a reservoir in Armenia’s Syunik’s region [link to reservoir piece]. When you encounter an ancient monastery in the silence of solitude, you’ll be transported back in time. Here are some of the top abandoned monasteries we recommend.
Travel to the unique, eerie and mysterious spaces in our list and uncover Armenia’s off-the-beaten path!
Published on December 11, 2023