When the Olympic Games are announced, the host country invariably spends vast amounts of money creating special structures to host both the athletes and the spectators. However, once the games are over, those sports complexes built specifically for the Olympics become redundant.
In various cities around the world, there are stadiums, swimming pools, and running tracks that have fallen into ruin. This is what happened in the Russian city of Kislovodsk, in the southwest of the Stavropol Territory, which was involved with the 1980 Olympic Games.
The Kislovodsk pool is located in the middle of the National Park known as the Valley of Roses. The construction of this sports complex took place in 1974 to address the fact there was a lack of places for training participants in the 1980 Olympics who lived in the midlands.
Two pools were built. The larger pool’s dimensions were about 50 meters (164 feet) long and 20 meters (66 feet) wide, and it was located outside. The smaller pool was housed in a circular building with a uniquely artistic ceiling and fantastic stained glass windows.
In order to heat the pool to 24 degrees Celsius, there was a boiler room on site. There was also a gym, a medical center, and a chlorination treatment room, as well as changing rooms and showers for the swimmers.
After the Olympics was over, the pool remained in demand with both residents and vacationers. It was popular all year round since it was a heated pool.
Although many people visited the complex, it closed down around the time that the USSR collapsed at the end of the 1980s. The land was transferred to the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia
However, the Federation did not need such a complex at all. As a result, this place began to fall in decline. During the early 1990s, local authorities began to pay less and less attention to the Kislovodsk pool, mainly due to the lack of finance available to maintain such a sports complex.
Nevertheless, according to one commentator on an internet site, people still used to swim there. After its abandonment, the pool looked more like a pond filled with rainwater and home to frogs and tadpoles, but that didn’t stop determined swimmers.
In 2006, the property was sold by the Federation to a Russian commercial organization called NPO InfoCrytal for 47 million rubles (about US $600,000). Following the deal, the Federal Property Management Agency began to question the legality of the sale.
Officials believed that more area than was necessary had been sold to the company, and at an astoundingly low price. The sports complex itself covers only 7,477 square meters (8,942 square feet) while NPO purchased around 43,000 square meters (51,428 square feet).
The basis of the litigation was that the extra 35,000 square meters (41,860 square feet) shouldn’t have been sold to the company.
It is possible that the intention behind such a deal was that NPO wanted to purchase not the sports complex itself but a piece of land in the Kislovodsk National Park. This seems to be backed up by the fact that although legal proceedings have now ceased, the owner has failed to develop the land in any way at all.
Over the years, the structure has become covered with various examples of street art, drawings, and inscriptions. The doors and window frames have rotted, valuable scrap metal and wire have been looted, and even the floor tiles have been stolen.
Security at the Kislovodsk pool is so poor it’s almost non-existent. Debris and rubbish lie everywhere. The unique stained glass windows that once graced the circular building have, in many cases, been shattered or stolen.
In July 2020, a Russian news website announced that the city of Kislovodsk itself was due to be revived into a city of active sports by 2030. However, there was no mention of the Olympic pool structure being renovated, so the fate of this forgotten site remains unknown.
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Alexey Marakhovets is a traveler and photographer who dreams of visiting every country around the world. So far, he has already visited 40 countries.
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