Skip to main
artcollectionstravel
Comrade Kyiv
journalimpactabout

architecture

Knocking on Heaven's Door: Armenia's Abandoned Orgov Telescope

Credit: Norayr via Wikipedia

Two hours by car from Yerevan, nestled amongst grazing cattle and the farmers who tend to them, is the abandoned remains of a telescope which once searched for signs of life beyond our world.

Space exploration was initially a practical concern: rocket technology solved the problem of sending huge nuclear payloads over long distances. But the Space Race soon evolved into something of much greater symbolic significance. Space became the dramatic arena for an ideological and intellectual struggle between communism and capitalism. If the Soviets won the Space Race, they would win the Cold War.

 

During the Cold War, scientists in the US and the USSR had almost unlimited budgets when it came to space research. For many, their primary objective was not politics, but the exploration of other worlds. Earthy ideologies like communism and capitalism held no pull in their orbits. At the peak of the Cold War in 1971, 44 of the world’s most renowned scientists from the US and the USSR, including Carl Sagan, came together in Byurakan, a small mountainous Armenian village. They were there for four days to discuss the challenges of communicating with intelligent life beyond our planet as part of the first Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI) conference.

The search for intelligence beyond our world captured the attention of the USSR. Against the backdrop of Mount Aragats, a radio telescope to capture and decode radio signals from space was commissioned by the Soviet state. Construction of the 54 metre Orgov Radio-Optical Telescope took place between 1975 and 1985. Operational in 1986, it captured a radio-flare on the Etta Gemini star within its first few minutes of operation. 

Credit: HAYP Pop Up Gallery

It was once considered one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world, but it fell into disrepair after the collapse of the Soviet Union due to lack of funding. In the early 2000s, a plan to restore the telescope was proposed, but the hefty price tag of $200-250 million to get it working again, means that little progress has been made.

Comrade Kiev creates sustainable, ethical, design-led tours to the most incredible places on earth. Stairway to the Stars celebrates 60 years of humans in space. It takes travellers “one small step” closer to the stars, granting them a rare and privileged glimpse inside the Russian space programme. Travellers can train like real cosmonauts, experience the exhilaration of weightlessness, and witness the raw power of a rocket launch up-close. Explore tour

"We've Inspected the Sky Inside & Outside. No Gods or Angels Were Found" | Russia | 1964£1,500.00
List of all posters

Further Reading

art

Soviet Intourist Travel Posters - How the USSR Used Art & Propaganda to Drive Tourism

Intourist held a monopoly on tourism in the USSR. As the only tourism agency in the Soviet Union, Intourist was responsible for attracting and accommodating all tourists. Like every other industry or ideal in the USSR, Intourist used propaganda to advance its agenda. Posters targeted western audiences. They portrayed the Soviet Union as a glamorous and exotic land rather than a country of labourers and peasants.

travel

The Trans-Siberian Railroad - The Railroad that Changed the World and Started a War

9,198 kilometres of tracks connect Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. As the longest railroad in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway is truly one of humanity’s most impressive engineering feats. But, this symbol of Soviet power has also had an outsized impact on the world at large. Its construction was the catalyst for a war between two superpowers, it transported millions of prisoners to the Gulags, and served as a lifeline during the Second World War.

architecture

A Top 10 Guide to Georgia’s Best Soviet & Modern Architecture

The Sovereign state of the Caucasus – and Stalin’s home nation – Georgia was a critical part of the USSR. In the late 1970s, it stepped out from its Soviet shadow and into a new architectural age. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the ambitious and otherworldly designs became an explicit rebuke of Communism and a sign of Georgia’s struggle towards self-actualisation. Here are ten of my favourite buildings in Georgia.

travel

Exploring Budapest’s Dystopian Underground Water Reservoir

Rising above the banks of Budapest’s Danube river is Gellért Hill, an affluent residential area with elegant tree-lined streets. But, hidden beneath the surface is a strange and surreal sight - the József Gruber Water Reservoir. Every March, it’s emptied for its annual cleaning. With 106 stretched columns, the second basin makes for a futuristic and dystopian landscape.

hello@comradekiev.com
+44 7397 297470
london, UK
london, UK
+44 7397 297470
hello@comradekiev.com
We will never sell your personal information. Read our privacy policy.
T&Cs
condition guide
shipping & returns