Khanjan Villa

Khanjan Villa

Hidden in the mountains of Dilijan are the ruins of a circular villa built in 1936 for the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia.


Dilijan is a popular tourist destination for both locals and foreign tourists wishing to visit Armenia. There are forests and mountains, with various treks and breathtaking landscapes.

Aghasi Khanjian

Aghasi Khanjian, an essential figure of the time and the first secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia, had his summer house built in these mountains. The villa was designed in the Armenian modernist style of the early 20th century.

However, Khanjan never got to see it completed.

abandoned places Armenia

On 21 May 1936, the NKVD arrested Nersik Stepanyan, director of the Institute of Leninist Marxism in Armenia, as a ‘counter-revolutionary nationalist-Trotskyist‘. On 9 July, Beria, the SSR leader in Georgia, called a meeting of the Transcaucasian party bureau in Tbilisi, where he and his allies accused Khanjian of protecting Stepanyan. On 8 July, Khanjian went to his flat in Tbilisi. His bodyguards found him in his room with a bullet wound to the head. He was transported to a Tbilisi hospital and operated on, but he was declared dead after a couple of hours.

Khanjian’s political convictions came soon after his death. On 11 July 1936, the newspaper Zarya Vostoka declared that Khanjian had committed suicide, calling his death ‘a manifestation of cowardice particularly unworthy of a leader of a party organisation’. It was claimed that Khanjian had ‘made mistakes, showing insufficient vigilance towards nationalist, counter-revolutionary and Trotskyist groups’ and that he had committed suicide because he ‘could not find the courage within himself to correct [his mistakes] in a Bolshevik way’. “On 20 July 1936, Beria published an article in which he accused Khanjian of patronising ‘rabid nationalist elements among the Armenian intelligentsia’ and of ‘favouring the Stepanyan terrorist group‘. Khanjyan was buried in Yerevan without any public ceremony. By December 1936, the narrative of Khanjian’s suicide had been publicly endorsed by Stalin and the most prominent Armenian politician in the USSR, Anastas Mikoyan.

Urbex position:

Leave a Reply