Mikoyan Museum – Alaverdi, Armenia - Atlas Obscura
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Alaverdi, Armenia

Mikoyan Museum

This small shrine to the designer of the first Russian fighter jet and his politicking brother still stands in their Armenian home town. 

Born in the small Armenian village of Sanahin, the Mikoyan brothers went on to become influential Soviet citizens for helping to create the MiG fighter aircraft in World War II and beyond and for surviving the viper’s nest of Russian politics respectively and their legacy is remembered in this museum in their home town.

Aryton and Anastas Mikoyan were born ten years apart from one another around the turn of the century and both went on to become important figures in the Soviet Union during their lifetimes. The older Anastas, born in 1895 joint the Russian politburo as a Stalinist supporter and managed to remain in the cabinet (and alive) for a number of years, eventually even outlasting Stalin himself. Arguably more well known, the younger Aryton joined the air force and went on to sign up with the aircraft design devision and eventually co-created (along with his partner Mikhail Gurevich, hence the abbreviation) the generation of MiG fighter aircraft which served the Soviet Union and its allies from World War II until the Cold War.

Given their prominent roles in Soviet political and military history, a state-sponsored monument to the men was established in their home village that still stands today. The most prominent aspect of the memorial is the sweeping canopy that hangs over a full-size MiG 21. There is also a small museum with pictures and artifacts devoted to their lives and careers nearby staffed by local curators who are more than willing to tell visitors the story behind each piece in the collection, pride for the hometown boys who made a splash on the world stage, beaming from their every anecdote.