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Exploring an Abandoned Hotel

This abandoned hotel on the shore of Lake Sevan, Armenia, hides one of the most amazing mosaics one can see in Armenia! A paradise for art lovers and urbex photographers!

The first time I saw this mosaic was in G. Mattu’s post, and he was the one who guided me there. I was so happy to finally visit this place and see the magical mosaic by Armenian painter, Honored Artist of the USSR (1983), Garnik Smbatyan (1929—2003). The hotel is located on the shore of Lake Sevan close to the main highway. An old road led us close, and finally, we saw the hidden hotel in the woods!

The abandoned hotel was an architectural marvel...

From time to time, guards are present, but that day there was no one around. Getting in was easy; early explorers (hopefully not looters) had made a way in. We sneaked in, and I saw the magic! The gigantic mosaic left me speechless. This is what I look for during my explorations. Some are looking for old machinery, documents, but what drives me is her majesty art.


The Birth of Astghik by Smbatyan (1982)


Astghik was the goddess of water, love, and beauty in ancient Armenian mythology. The artist was inspired by The Birth of Venus, a painting by the Italian artist Sandro Botticelli, probably executed in the mid-1480s. It depicts the goddess Venus arriving at the shore after her birth, when she had emerged from the sea fully-grown (called Venus Anadyomene and often depicted in art).

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

Smbatyan was a prolific and talented painter whose works are exhibited in the National Gallery of Armenia and can be found in private collections in Armenia and abroad. The mosaic was huge, and the low light, as well as columns of the building, did not allow for a good quality photo. I did my best but hope to return when having a better camera.


A low quality copy of Ivan Aivazovsky's "View of Constantinople by moonlight"

For comparison here is the original painting! Ivan Aivazovsky "View of Constantinople by moonlight"

We moved forward, exploring further, and found ourselves in the cinema hall, but there was nothing left behind. On each floor, when going up the stairs, one could see murals, copies of famous paintings.

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