The Soviet Union arguably boosted some of the world’s most visually captivating bus and train stations, not to mention bus stops, even in the most remote areas of its vast territory. Vested with a sense of civic duty, stations were well-organized and ordained, usually set away from the city centres to avoid congesting the urban space with the inflow of vehicles and humans. They attracted small shop owners and peddlers.
Fast forward twenty-five years since USSR went into meltdown and bus stations have changed like the world around them. Today these representatives of Socialist architecture are plastered with commercial advertisements and political posters, mainly the ruling party. The controlled flow of passengers of the Soviet era has given way to chaos where all walks of life are on display, and more often than not buses’ departure and arrival times are random.
Yet, they retained their hypnotizing charm as places where humanity comes and goes, where time feels timeless. Armenia’s three main bus hubs - Kilikia and the Northen Bus Station in Yerevan, and the station in Vanzadzor, the country’s third largest city, feature an army of vehicles connecting all corners of Armenia and beyond, to neighbouring Georgia and Iran. Not all of them survived the new order, like Hrazdan which was transformed into a restaurant in 2015.