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Hotels of Gyumri

A hotel in Gyumri is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Gyumri hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Gyumri are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Gyumri hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Gyumri hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Gyumri have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Gyumri
An upscale full service hotel facility in Gyumri that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Gyumri hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Gyumri
Full service Gyumri hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Gyumri
Boutique hotels of Gyumri are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Gyumri boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Gyumri may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Gyumri
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Gyumri travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Gyumri focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Gyumri
Small to medium-sized Gyumri hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Gyumri traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Gyumri hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Gyumri
A bed and breakfast in Gyumri is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Gyumri bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Gyumri B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Gyumri
Gyumri hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Gyumri hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Gyumri
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Gyumri hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Gyumri lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Gyumri
Gyumri timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Gyumri often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Gyumri on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Gyumri
A Gyumri motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Gyumri for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Gyumri motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Gyumri

From top left:Gyumri skyline • Mother ArmeniaCathedral of Gyumri • Sev Berd FortressIndependence Square • Dzitoghtsyan MuseumVartanants Square and Gyumri City Hall
From top left:
Gyumri skyline • Mother Armenia
Cathedral of Gyumri • Sev Berd Fortress
Independence Square • Dzitoghtsyan Museum
Vartanants Square and Gyumri City Hall
Flag of Gyumri
Official seal of Gyumri
Nickname(s): Hayrakaghak ("Father-city")
Gyumri is located in Armenia
Location of Gyumri in Armenia
Coordinates:  / 40.78944; 43.84750
Country Armenia
Marz Shirak
Founded as Kumayri by the Cimmerians 8th century BC
Rebuilt as Alexandropol by Nicholas I of Russia 1837
• Mayor Samvel Balasanyan
• Total 54 km (21 sq mi)
Elevation 1,509 m (4,951 ft)
Population (2011 census)
• Total 121,976
• Density 2,300/km (5,900/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Gyumretsi
Time zone AMT (UTC+4)
Postal code 3101-3126
Area code(s) (+374) 312
Vehicle registration 45 am
Climate Dfb
Website www.gyumri.am
Sources: Population

 / 40.78944; 43.84750

Gyumri (Armenian: Գյումրի [gjumˈɾi]) is the second largest city in Armenia and the capital of the Shirak Province in the northwestern part of the country. By the end of the 19th century, when the city was known as Alexandropol, it was one of the largest cities of Russian-ruled Eastern Armenia with a population similar to that of Yerevan. It was renamed to Leninakan during the Soviet period. The city's population grew above 200,000 prior to the 1988 Spitak earthquake, when it was devastated. As of the 2011 census, the city had a population of 121,976, down from 150,917 reported at the 2001 census.

Gyumri: Etymology

The area of modern-day Gyumri was known as Kumayri during the period of the Kingdom of Urartu. It is likely that the name has been originated from the Cimmerians who conquered the region and probably founded the settlement. Under the domination of the Turkic tribes, Kumayri was Turkified as Gümrü. In 1837, Kumayri was renamed Alexandropol after of Tsar Nicholas I's wife, Princess Alexandra Fyodorovna. Between 1924 and 1990, the city was known as Leninakan in hon of Vladimir Lenin. During the independence, the original name Kumayri was used until 1992, when Gyumri was chosen as the name of the city.

Gyumri: History

Gyumri: Classical antiquity and the ancient Armenian Kingdom

The Orontid settlement of Gyumri, 5th–2nd centuries BC

Archaeological excavations conducted throughout the Soviet period have shown that the area of modern-day Gyumri has been populated since at least the third millennium BC. The area was mentioned as Kumayri in the historic Urartian inscriptions dating back to the 8th century BC. In 720 BC, the Cimmerians conquered the region and probably founded the Kumayri settlement, which bears phonetic resemblance to the word used by ancient Armenian in reference to Cimmerians. Historians believe that Xenophon passed through Kumayri during his return to the Black Sea, a journey immortalized in his Anabasis.

At the decline of the Urartu Kingdom by the second half of the 6th century BC, Kumayri became part of the Achaemenid Empire. The remains of a royal settlement found just to the south of Gyumri near the village of Beniamin dating back to the 5th to 2nd centuries BC, are a great example of the Achemenid influence in the region. However, at the beginning of the 5th century BC, Kumayri became part of the Satrapy of Armenia under the rule of the Orontids. An alternative theory suggests that Kumayri has been formed as an urban settlement in the late 5th century BC, ca. 401 BC, by Greek colonists.

Later in 331 BC, the entire territory was included in the Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenian Kingdom as part of the Shirak canton. Between 190 BC and 1 AD Kumayri was under the rule of the Artaxiad dynasty of Armenia. During the 1st century AD, Shirak was granted to the Kamsarakan family, who ruled over Kumayri during the Arsacid Kingdom of Armenia.

Gyumri: Medieval period

Following the partition of Armenia in 387 between the Byzantines and the Persians, and as a result of the fall of the Arsacid Kingdom of Armenia in 428, Shirak including Kumayri became part of the Sasanian Empire of Persia. In 658 AD, at the height of the Arab Islamic invasions, Kumayri was conquered during the Muslim conquest of Persia to become part of the Emirate of Armenia under the Umayyad Caliphate.

Kumayri was a significant and quite-developed urban settlement during the Middle Ages. According to the Armenian scholar Ghevond the Historian, the town was a centre of the Armenian rebellion led by Artavazd Mamikonian against the Islamic Arab Caliphate, between 733 and 755. After 2 centuries of Islamic rule over Armenia, the Bagratids declared independence in 885 establishing the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Kumayri entered e new era of growth and progress, particularly when the nearby city of Ani became the capital of the kingdom in 961. By the second half of the 10th century, Kumayri was under the influence of the Armenian Pahlavuni family, who were descendents of the Kamsarakans. The Pahlavunis had a great contribution in the progress of Shirak with the foundation of many fortresses, monastic complexes, educational institutions, etc.

Marmashen Monastery 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) northwest of Gyumri (10th century)

After the fall of Armenia to the Byzantine Empire in 1045 and later to the Seljuk invaders in 1064. Under the foreign rulers, the town had gradullay lost its significance during the following centuries, until the establishment of the Zakarid Principality of Armenia in 1201 under the Georgian protectorate. During the Zakarid rule, the Eaastern Armenian territories, mainly Lori and Shirak, entered into a new period of growth and stability, becoming a trade centre between the east and the west. After the Mongols captured Ani in 1236, Armenia turned into a Mongol protectorate as part of the Ilkhanate, and the Zakarids became vassals to the Mongols. After the fall of the Ilkhanate in the mid-14th century, the Zakarid princes ruled over Lori, Shirak and Ararat plain until 1360 when they fell to the invading Turkic tribes.

By the last quarter of the 14th century, the Ag Qoyunlu Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribe took over Armenia, including Shirak. In 1400, Timur invaded Armenia and Georgia, and captured more than 60,000 of the survived local people as slaves. Many districts including Shirak were depopulated. In 1410, Armenia fell under the control of the Kara Koyunlu Shia Oghuz Turkic tribe. According to the Armeian historian Thomas of Metsoph, although the Kara Koyunlu levied heavy taxes against the Armenians, the early years of their rule were relatively peaceful and some reconstruction of towns took place.

Under the rule of the Turkic tribes, Kumayri was known to the Turks as Gümrü.

Gyumri: Persian and Russian rules

Saint Alexandra the Martyr's Russian Orthodox church, opened in 1837

In 1501, most of the Eastern Armenian territories including Kumayri were conquered by the emerging Safavid dynasty of Iran led by Shah Ismail I. Soon after in 1502, Kumayri became part of the newly formed Erivan Beglarbegi, a new administrative territory of Iran formed by the Safavids. During the first half of the 18th century, Kumayri became part of the Erivan Khanate under the rule of the Afsharid dynasty and later under the Qajar dynasty of Persia.

Diorama of old Alexandropol with the Holy Saviour's Church (1859–1873)

In June 1804, the Russian forces controlled over Shirak region at the beginning of the Russo-Persian War of 1804 and 1813. Kumayri became officially part of the Russian Empire at the Treaty of Gulistan signed on 1 January 1813 between Imperial Russia and Qajar Persia.

During the period of the Russian rule, Gyumri became one of the developing cities in the Transcaucasus. In 1829, in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War, there was a big influx of Armenian population, as around 3,000 families who had migrated from territories in the Ottoman Empire -in particular from the towns of Kars, Erzurum, and Doğubeyazıt- settled in and around Gyumri. The Russian poet Alexander Pushkin visited Gyumri during his journey to Erzurum in 1829.

Surp Nshan Church of 1870

In 1837 Russian Tsar Nicholas I arrived in Gyumri and changed the name into Alexandropol. The name was chosen in honour of Tsar Nicholas I's wife, Princess Charlotte of Prussia, who had changed her name to Alexandra Fyodorovna after converting to Orthodox Christianity.

A major Russian fortress was built on the site in 1837. Alexandropol was finally formed as a town in 1840 to become the centre of the newly established Alexandropol Uyezd, experiencing rapid growth during its first decade. In 1849, the Alexandropol Uyezd became part of the Erivan Governorate. The town was an important outpost for the Imperial Russian armed forces in the Transcaucasus where their military barracks were established (e.g., at Poligons, Severski, Kazachi Post). The Russians built the Sev Berd fortress at the western edge of the city during the 1830s in response to the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829.

Alexandropol had been quickly transformed to become one of the major centres of the Russian troops during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. After the establishment of the railway station in 1899, Alexandropol witnessed a significant growth and became the largest city in Eastern Armenia. By the end of the 19th century, Alexandropol was home to 430 shopping stores as well as several workshops and cultural institutions.

Gyumri: Modern history

Alexandropol in 1901

In 1902, the first bank in the city was opened. Until the sovietization of Armenia in 1920, Alexandropol had 31 manufacturing centres including beer, soap, textile, etc. After the October Revolution of 1917 and the Russian withdrawal from the South Caucasus, the Ottoman forces launched a new offensive capturing the city of Alexandropol on 11 May 1918, during the Caucasus Campaign in World War I. However, the Ottomans withdrew from the city on 24 December 1918, as a result of the Armistice of Mudros.

The newly established Republic of Armenia proclaimed on 28 May 1918, included the city of Alexandropol. On 10 May 1920, the local Bolshevik Armenians aided by the Musilm population, attempted a coup d'état in Alexandropol against the Dashnak government of Armenia. The uprising was suppressed by the Armenian government on May 14 and its leaders were executed. However, during another Turkish invasion, Turkish troops attacked Alexandropol and occupied the city on 7 November 1920. Armenia was forced to sign the Treaty of Alexandropol on December 3 to stop the Turkish advance towards Yerevan, however a concurrent Soviet invasion led to the fall of the Armenian government on December 2. The Turkish forces withdrew from Alexandropol after the Treaty of Kars was signed in October 1921 by the unrecognized Soviet and Turkish governments.

Rizhkov Street at central Gyumri

Being under the Soviet rule, the name of the city was changed in 1924 to Leninakan after the deceased Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. The city suffered an earthquake in 1926, when many of its significant buildings were destroyed including the Greek church of Saint George. Leninakan became a major industrial centre in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and its second-largest city, after the capital Yerevan. The city suffered major damage during the 1988 Armenian earthquake, which devastated many parts of the country. The earthquake occurred along a known thrust fault with a length of 60 kilometers (37 mi). Its strike was parallel to the Caucasus range and dipped to the north-northeast. Bruce Bolt, a seismologist and a professor of earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, walked the fault scarp in 1992 and found that the vertical displacement measured 1 m (3 ft 3 in) along most of the length with the southwest end reaching 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in).

Pope Francis in Gyumri, June 2016

The earthquake had a disastrous impact on the city, as many buildings are still not recovered. As of 2014, according to some news websites, between 4,000 and 5,000 residents of Gyumri remain homeless, although there are no official figures provided by the local authorities of the city.

Gyumri City Hall at the Vartanants Square

At the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union, the city was renamed Kumayri between in 1990 until 1992 when it was finally given the name Gyumri. The Russian 102nd Military Base is located in the city.

Gyumri was celebrated as the Capital of Culture of the Commonwealth of Independent States for 2013. Major events took place in the city on 30 June 2013.

On 12 January 2015, Valery Permyakov, a serviceman from the Russian 102nd Military Base, murdered seven members of an Armenian family in Gyumri.

On 25 June 2016, Pope Francis delivered a Holy Mass at Gyumri's Vartanants Square. His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II also took part in the ceremony.

Gyumri: Geography and climate

Gyumri with Mount Aragats in the background

Gyumri is 126 kilometres (78 miles) north of the capital Yerevan at the central part of the Shirak plateau. It has an approximate height of 1,550 metres (5,090 feet) above sea level, the high altitude line being 1,500 metres (4,900 feet). The Akhurian River passes through the western suburbs. The Shirak plateau is surrounded with the Pambak Mountains from the east and Aragats volcanic range from the south. The city of Gyumri is 196 kilometres (122 miles) away from the Black Sea. The surrounding lands near the city are rich in tufa, basalt and clay.

Gyumri has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), characterized by cold and snowy winters where the minimum temperature in extreme spells can plummet to −41 °C or −41.8 °F. On the other hand, summer in Gyumri is relatively hot with temperatures reaching up to 36 °C or 96.8 °F. The annual precipitation averages 486 millimetres or 19.13 inches.

Climate data for Gyumri
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 9.2
Average high °C (°F) −3.7
Daily mean °C (°F) −9.5
Average low °C (°F) −14.8
Record low °C (°F) −41.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 23.7
Source: Climatebase.ru

Gyumri: Demographics

Gyumri: Population

Church of the Holy Saviour being reconstructed after the 1988 earthquake
Saint Michael the Archangel Russian church

The population of Gyumri has gradually grown since 1840 after gaining the status of town. A huge decline of the population was due to the disastrous earthquake of 1988. The residents here have a distinct look and style, and a boundless pride in their city. The dialect of Gyumri is a variant of Karin dialect, closely related to Western Armenian.

Population and ethnic groups chart of Gyumri throughout history:

Year Population Armenians (%) Russians (%) Others (%)
21,771 (71.1%)
5,157 (16.8%)
3,688 (12%): 1,090 Azeris, 415 Jews,
316 Lithuanians, 266 Greeks, 127 Georgians
37,520 (88.7%)
3,634 (8.6%)
1, 159 (2.7%):
62,159 (91.8%)
4,249 (6.3%)
1,321 (1.9%)
100,960 (93.1%)
5,630 (5.2%)
1,856 (1.7%)

^a Called Tatars prior to 1918

Gyumri: Religion

Russian church of the Seversky 18th Dragoon Regiment
Saint Gregory Church
Saint Arsenije Russian church
Saint Jacob of Nisibis Church
Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs

The majority of the population in Gyumri belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God of Gyumri -also known as the Cathedral of the Seven Wounds of the Holy Mother of God- is the seat of the Diocese of Shirak of the Armenian Church.

The Armenian Catholic Church is a minority in Armenia and is under the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate of Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Eastern Europe, based in Gyumri. There are around 16,000 Armenian Catholics in the Shirak Province. The seat of the Ordinariate for Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Eastern Europe for the Armenian Catholic Church is the Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs in Gyumri.

The presence of the small Russian Orthodox community along with the Russian military base personnel is marked with the Saint Alexandra the Martyr's Church (within the Russian base), the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel and the Church of Saint Arsenije.

However, many historic churches in Gyumri were either ruined or destroyed, including:

  • Dprevank Monastery and the Basilic Church of old Kumayri dating back to the 7th century: it was the first ever church built in old Kumayri. However, the monastic complex was completely destroyed in 1852, during the construction of Russian military barracks.
  • Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, opened in 1850. It was completely destroyed in 1933–34.
  • Holy Mother of God Armenian Catholic Church, built between 1849 and 1854. Although standing, the building was turned into a private residence during the Soviet days.
  • Russian church of the Seversky 18th Dragoon Regiment, built in 1856. It was consecrated in 1901 and destroyed during the Soviet days.
  • Russian church of the Caucasian 7th Rifle Regiment, built during the 1850s. It was completely destroyed during the Soviet days.
  • Russian church of the Caucasian 8th Rifle Regiment, built during the 1850s. It was completely destroyed during the Soviet days.
  • Russian church of the Baku 154th Infantry Regiment, built during the 1850s. It was completely destroyed during the Soviet days.

As of 2017, Gyumri is home to the following church buildings:

  • Saint Alexandra the Martyr's Church within the Russian base, opened in 1837. It was completely renovated and reopened on May 8, 2008.
  • Church of the Holy Saviour or Surp Amenaprkich, constructed between 1859–1873: designed to resemble the Cathedral of Ani. The church was heavily damaged by the 1988 Spitak earthquake and is currently under reconstruction.
  • Surp Nshan or Holy Sign Church: Opened in 1870.
  • Saint Gregory the Illuminator's Church, built between 1875 and 1880.
  • Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church, loaclly known as Plplan Zham (the Shimmering Chapel), built between 1875 and 1880.
  • Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God: also known as Seven Wounds of the Holy Mother of God, constructed between 1873–1884. Currently, it is the seat of the Diocese of Shirak of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
  • Saint Arsenije Russian Orthodox Church of, built during the 1870s and opened in 1910. It is locally known as the church of Kazachi Post.
  • Saint Hripsime Chapel, opened in 1992.
  • Saint Jacob of Nisibis Church: or Surp Hakob Mtsbinetsi Church, opened in 2005.
  • Surp Sarkis Chapel, built in 2008 and opened in 2011.
  • Surp Minas Chapel, opened in 2013.
  • Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs of the Catholic Armenians, opened in 2015.

Gyumri: Culture

Gyumri: Museums and art

Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum
House-Museum of Hovhannes Shiraz

Gyumri is home to many prominent museums of Armenia, including the House-Museums of sculptor Sergey Merkurov, poets Avetik Isahakyan and Hovhannes Shiraz, and actor Mher Mkrtchyan. The Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum, built in the 1880s, is home to more than 700 drawings, paintings and other works of the Soviet-era artists "Aslamazyan sisters". The Dzitoghtsyan Museum of Social Life and National Architecture of Gyumri is an old mansion, housing collections related to both history and the everyday-life of Gyumri, as well as paintings and other works of art.

Throughout centuries, Kumayri-Gyumri was labelled as the "city of crafts and arts", being famous for its schools, theaters and gusans.

"October" cinema hall

In 1865, an amateur theatre group in Gyumri performed H. Karinyan's "Shushanik". In 1912, Gyumri was home to the first opera show ever staged in Armenia, when composer Armen Tigranian presented Anoush to the public in Alexandropol. In 1923, the first Armenian opera theatre was opened in Gyumri (where the first ballet performance in Armenia took place in 1924), while the Vardan Ajemian State Drama Theatre was founded in 1928. Prominent directors Ruben Simonov and Vardan Ajemian, actors Mher Mkrtchyan, Azat Sherents and Varduhi Varderesyan worked in theatre. The theatre's new building was opened in 1972. The artistic director is Nikolay Tsaturyan. Gyumri is known for its 19th-century architecture and urban constructions.

The first printing house of Gyumri was founded in 1876 by G. Sanoyan and operated until 1918. It published literary works (including Avetik Isahakyan's first book), calendars, textbooks. Another printing house, Ayg (founded 1892), published historical books and the first periodical of Gyumri, Akhuryan.

Gyumri is home to the Gyumri Biennial, organized by the artist Azat Sargsyan and the Gyumri Centre of Contemporary Art (GCCA). Gyumri was officially declared Commonwealth of Independent States cultural capital in 2013.

Gyumri: Music

A statue of two gusans in Gyumri, depicting Sheram and Jivani

The city of Gyumri has a great contribution in Armenian folk music. Throughout the 19th century, Alexandrapol was considered the centre of folk and traditional Armenian music. The musical culture of Alexandrapol has greatly influenced the art of Jivani, who is considered the founder of modern Armenian folk music during the 19th century. Another 19th-century ashik Sheram who was born in Alexandropol, is one of the earliest gusans of traditional Armenian music in the modern history of Armenia. He is one of the most celebrated Armenian composers of folk music.

The mystic philosopher of Alexandropol George Gurdjieff has produced many influential works of music during the 20th century.

Different genres of music became popular in the city during the 2nd half of the 20th century. Rock, folk rock and ethnic rock are widely popular through the local famous rock band Bambir, active since 1978.

In 1986, the State Orchestra of Folk Instruments of Gyumri was founded, followed by the State Symphonic Orchestra of Gyumri in 1993. In 1997, the KOHAR Symphony Orchestra and Choir was founded in Gyumri through the efforts of the Lebanese-Armenian philanthropist Harout Khatchadourian. Soon after, KOHAR became one of the most celebrated choirs in Armenia as well as throughout the Armenian diaspora.

Influenced by Gurdjieff, the Armenian musician Levon Eskenian founded The Gurdjieff Ensemble in 2008. The award-winning ensemble gathers many of Armenia's leading practitioners of traditional music, performing on duduk, sring, kamancha, oud, kanōn, santur, tar, saz, daf, dhol, and tombak.

The Renaissance international music festival of Gyumri is held annually since 2009.

Gyumri: Monuments

Abovyan Avenue (former Alexandrovsky Street) of Kumayri district
Araks Hotel at the Kumayri historic district
  • Kumayri historic district: is the old part of Gyumri with its unique architectural style. It has more than a thousand buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The district is one of few places in the Republic of Armenia, and the world, with authentic urban Armenian architecture. Almost all the structures of the Kumayri district have survived two major earthquakes, in 1926 and 1988. The historic district of Kumayri occupies the central part of modern-day Gyumri.
  • Sev Berd or the Black Fortress (Armenian: Սև բերդ; Russian: Чёрная Крепость, Chornaya Krepost): is an abandoned Russian imperial fortress in Gyumri built between 1834 and 1847, located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) east of the closed border with Turkey. It was erected in response to the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829. Currently, it is a national cultural heritage monument of Armenia.
  • The monumental statue of Mother Armenia erected in 1975.
  • Vartanants Square, the central town square of Gyumri.
  • Independence Square.
  • Charles Aznavour Square.
  • Garegin Nzhdeh Square.
  • Gyumri Central Park, founded during the 1920s on the site of the old cemetery of the city.

The restoration process of the damaged buildings of Gyumri has been spearheaded by Earthwatch to preserve the city's unique architecture.

Although suffering severe damage during the disastrous earthquake in December 1988, Gyumri is still preserving its own architectural characteristics.

Gyumri: Local customs

Rentable horse-drawn carriage at the centre of Gyumri

The residents are Gyumri are widely known as conservative people. Traditions and local customs are widely preserved by the local citizens. It is very common among Armenians to refer to the dignity of Gyumri (Armenian: Գյումրվա թասիբ, Gyumrva tasib).

Gyumri is considered to be the "laughter and humor capital" of Armenia. The jokes and anecdotes of famous local humorists like Jgher Khachik and Poloz Mukuch are widely known by the local citizens. Many works have been published to narrate about the legacy and heritage of the humor in Gyumri.

Gyumri: Media

Gyumri has 3 regional TV stations:

  • Tsayg TV, operating since 1991.
  • Shirak Public TV, operating since 1992.
  • Gala TV, operating since 2005.

"Shrjapat" weekly is the local newspaper of Gyumri.

Gyumri: Transportation

Gyumri: Air transportation

Shirak Airport

Gyumri is served by the international Shirak Airport, about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) to the southeast of the city centre. It was inaugurated in 1961 and is the second largest airport in Armenia. It has scheduled flights to Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

At the beginning of 2006, the government of Armenia felt the importance of having a second international airport, when adverse weather conditions meant that many flights had to be diverted from Yerevan's Zvartnots International Airport into Gyumri's Shirak Airport. New air traffic control equipment allowed airport workers to identify planes in a 400-kilometre (250-mile) radius.

Following moderate use in 2005 and 2006 during which annual passenger traffic was at about 46,000 and several hundred aircraft movements took place each year, the airport's activity quickly declined again to the point where in 2016 passenger traffic amounted to only 12,421 and a mere 54 aircraft movements took place. However, in the beginning of 2017, as part of new efforts to develop Gyumri and its tourism industry, the government focused on revitalizing the airport. Multiple new airlines began operating flights to the airport, including Taron Avia, a new Armenian airline based in Gyumri. In order attract more customers, the Ministry of Nature Protection made meteorological services free for all airlines flying to Gyumri, lowering ticket costs. The Gyumri Technology Center also participated in helping revitalize the airport by adding interior design details to improve the airport's look.

Gyumri: Railway

Gyumri Railway Station

The railway junction of Gyumri is the oldest and the largest one in Armenia. It was formed in 1897 and the first railway link to Alexandropol that connected the city with Tiflis was completed in 1899. The rail line was then extended from Alexandropol to Yerevan (in 1902), Kars (in 1902), Jolfa (in 1906), and Tabriz. As a result, Alexandropol became an important rail hub.

As of 2017, the Gyumri Railway Station operates regular trips to Yerevan and Batumi. The South Caucasus Railway CJSC, is the current operator of the railway sector in Armenia.

Gyumri: Public vans and taxis

Public transport in dominated by the private sector in Gyumri. Public transit is mainly served by public vans, locally-known as marshrutka. Most of the marshrutkas Russian-made GAZelle vans with 13 seats that operate with certain routes and stops. As of 2017, the one-way trip fee is AMD 100 (around US$0.21). Passengers need to pay the money directly to the driver when getting out of the vehicle, with no established ticketing system.

The central station of the city serves as bus terminal for inter-city transport, serving outbound routes towards other major cities and towns in Armenia, as well as cities in Georgia.

Armenia is among the top 10 safest countries where one can wander around and go home alone safely at night. Taxis are available in the city at any time of the day or night.

Gyumri: Economy

The old brewery in Gyumri opened in 1898

During the pre-Soviet era, Alexandropol was considered the third-largest trade and cultural centre in Transcaucasia after Tiflis and Baku (Yerevan would not rise to prominence until being proclaimed as the capital of independent Armenia in 1918 and Armenian SSR in 1920). At the end of the 19th century, the population of Alexandropol has grown up to 32,100 inhabitants, with a majority of Armenians.

Poloz Mukuch Beerhouse

The economy of Gyumri is mainly based on industry and construction. However, tourism and banking services are also among the developed sectors in the city.

The industrial sector in the provincial centre Gyumri includes the production of building materials (tufa and basalt), hosiery and textile manufacturing, food processing and dairy products, alcoholic drinks, electronic machines, etc. The largest industrial plant in Gyumri is the Gyumri-Beer Brewery opened in 1972. The factory produces a variety of lager beer under the brands Gyumri, Ararat and Aleksandrapol. The city is also home to the "Factory of Bending Machinses" opened in 1912, the "Arshaluys" hosiery manufacturing enterprise established in 1926, the "Karhat" machine tools plant opened in 1959, the "Chap Chemical LLC" since 1999, the "Armtex Group" clothing factory since 2000, and the "Lentex" hosiery manufacturing plant is operating since 2001. Other industrial firms of the city include the "Aleqpol" factory for dairy products, the "Anusharan" confectionery plant, and the "Gold Plast" plant for building materials.

The nearby village of Akhuryan is home to the "Lusastgh-Sugar" factory (opened in 2010), the largest sugar producers in the Southern Caucasus region.

Gyumri: Education

Shirak State University
Progress Gyumri University at the Independence Square
Gyumri Technology Center

Gyumri has a large number of educational institutions, following the capital Yerevan in the number of educational institutions. It is considered the cultural and educational centre of northern Armenia.

As of 2017, Gyumri is home to the following higher educational centers:

  • Shirak State University named after Mikael Nalbandian, opened in 1934 and is currently home to 7 faculties.
  • Gyumri campus of the National Polytechnic University of Armenia, operating since 1959 with 2 faculties:
    • Faculty of Technologies and sectoral economics,
    • Faculty of Natural sciences and communication systems.
  • Gyumri campus of Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan, operating since 1988.
  • Progress Gyumri University, opened in 1990.
  • Shirakatsy campus of Haybusak University of Yerevan, operating since 1991.
  • Imastaser Anania Shirakatsi University, opened in 1992.
  • Gyumri campus of Armenian State University of Economics, operating since 1997.
  • Gyumri campus of Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts, operating since 1997.
  • Gyumri campus of Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography, operating since 1997.

In 2014, the Gyumri Technology Center was opened in the city, in an attempt to turn Gyumri into a regional and international center of information and high technologies.

As of 2017, the city is home to 47 public education schools, 23 nursery schools and 7 special schools for music regularly operating in the city.

Gyumri: Sport

Gyumri: Football

Gyumri City Stadium

Gyumri is home to the Armenian football club FC Shirak. They play their home games at the Gyumri City Stadium, the oldest football stadium in Armenia dating back to 1924. Shirak are one of the most popular football teams in Armenia, having won the championship of the Armenian Premier League four times, with the most recent one in the 2012–13 season. Shirak have also won the Armenian Independence Cup once. The native of Gyumri and former Shirak player Artur Petrosyan was the all-time leading scorer for the Armenia national football team until his record was surpassed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan in 2013.

Aragats FC was the second football club that represented the city. However, the club was dissolved in 2002 due to financial difficulties.

Gyumri Football Academy

The Gyumri Football Academy of the Football Federation of Armenia was opened on 13 September 2014. It is home to four natural-grass and two artificial turf regular-sized football training pitches.

Gyumri: Futsal

Futsal is also very popular in Gyumri. Being one of the most successful Futsal teams in Armenia, FC Gyumri plays at the Armenian Futsal Premier League. The newly founded teams of Shirak Futsal (the futsal branch of FC Shirak) and the Sh.S.U Futsal of the Shirak State University will also participate in the domestic league competition. The futsal teams of Gyumri play their home games at the Armen Sargsyan Sports Hall of the city.

Gyumri: Olympic individual sports

Gyumri has a major contribution in the sporing life of Armenia. Many Olympic and world champion wrestlers, weightlifters and boxers are from Gyumri. The city is notable for its worldwide champions in individual sports, such as Robert Emmiyan in long jump, Yurik Vardanyan and Nazik Avdalyan in weightlifting and Artur Aleksanyan in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Many special sport schools are serving the young generation of Gyumri such as the Robert Emmiyan school of athletics, Levon Ishtoyan football school, Tigran Petrosian school of chess, Ludvig Mnatsakanyan school of winter sports, Artur Aleksanyan school of wrestling, Yurik Vardanyan school of weightlifting, Aleksan Haobyan school of tennis and table tennis, as well as other special schools for boxing, artistic gymnastics, sambo-judo, fencing, and chess. The city is also home to the Gyumri Swimming Complex. The National Federation of Black Belts of Aikido (NFBBA) is based in Gyumri since its establishment in 2012.

The Gyumri State Sports College of Olympic Reserve and Gyumri School of Sport Masters are among the prominent sport schools in Armenia that produced many champions in several individual sports.

Gyumri: Notable achievements of Gyumri sportsmen

3-times European, 3-times World, and 2016 Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling champion (96 kg)

Gyumri is home to many former and current World, Olympic and European champions in several types of sports, including:

  • Yurik Vardanyan, the seven-times world and the 1980 Olympic weightlifting champion in the -82.5 kg category.
  • Robert Emmiyan, the 1986 European champion in long jump.
  • Levon Julfalakyan, the 1986 world and 1988 Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling champion (74 kg).
  • Mnatsakan Iskandaryan, the 1990 and 1991 world and 1992 Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling champion (68 kg).
  • Israel Militosyan, the 1989 world and 1992 Olympic weigntlifting champion in the men's -67.5 kg category.
  • Mkhitar Manukyan, the 1998 and 1999 World Greco-Roman Wrestling champion (62 kg).
  • Meline Daluzyan, the 2007 and 2008 European weightlifting champion in the women's -63 kg category.
  • Tigran Vardan Martirosyan, the 2008 European weightlifting champion in the -85 kg category.
  • Nazik Avdalyan, the 2008 European and 2009 world weightlifting champion in the women's -69 kg category.
  • Arsen Julfalakyan, the 2009 European and 2014 World Greco-Roman Wrestling champion (74 kg).
  • Tigran Gevorg Martirosyan, the 2010 world weightlifting champion in the men's -77 kg category.
  • Artur Aleksanyan, the 2012, 2013, and 2014 European, 2014, 2015 and 2017 World, and 2016 Olympic Greco-Roman Wrestling champion (96 kg).

Gyumri: International relations

The Gyumri City Hall at night
Map of Gyumri

Gyumri: Twin towns – sister cities

Gyumri is twinned with:

  • United States Alexandria, Virginia, United States of America (since 1990)
  • United Kingdom Ashfield, United Kingdom (since 1998)
  • Greece Thessaloniki, Greece (since 2000)
  • Escudo ciudad de cordoba argentina.svg Córdoba, Argentina (since 2002)
  • Plovdiv-coat-of-arms.svg Plovdiv, Bulgaria (since 2004)
  • Brasão Osasco.png Osasco, Brazil (since 2006)
  • Blason ville fr Créteil (Val-de-Marne).svg Créteil, France (since 2009)
  • Nardò-Stemma.png Nardò, Italy (since 2009)
  • Coat of Arms of Mozdok (North Ossetia).png Mozdok, North Ossetia-Alania, Russia (since 2011)
  • ROU AG Pitesti CoA.jpg Pitești, Romania (since 2012)
  • POL Białystok COA.svg Białystok, Poland (since 2013)
  • China Xi'an, China (since 2013)
  • Coat of Arms of Domodedovo (Moscow oblast).png Domodedovo, Russia (since 2014)
  • Seal of Glendale, California.png Glendale, CA, United States of America (since 2015)

Gyumri: Notable natives

List of notable persons born in Gyumri: People from Gyumri
  • Artur Aleksanyan, wrestling Olympic and world champion
  • Mkrtich Armen, Armenian novelist
  • Mariam Aslamazian, Soviet-Armenian painter
  • Khachatur Avetisyan, Armenian composer
  • Nazik Avdalyan, weightlifting world champion
  • Olga Chekhova, Russian actress
  • Hayk Demoyan, historian, director of the Genocide museum
  • Robert Emmiyan, European long jump record holder
  • George Gurdjieff, mystic and philosopher
  • Tigran Hamasyan, jazz pianist and composer
  • Avetik Isahakyan, celebrated Armenian poet
  • Mnatsakan Iskandaryan, wrestling Olympic champion (1992)
  • Levon Ishtoyan, footballer, Soviet champion with FC Ararat (1973)
  • Levon Julfalakyan, wrestling Olympic champion (1988)
  • Araksya Karapetyan, Armenian-American TV anchor
  • Emil Kazaz, Armenian-American sculptor
  • Karekin Khajag, journalist, victim of the Genocide
  • Edmond Keosayan, film director
  • Hayk Kotanjian, Armenian military diplomat
  • Shushanik Kurghinian, Armenian influential writer
  • Vazgen Manukyan, former Prime Minister of Armenia
  • Flora Martirosian, Armenian folk songs performer
  • Sergey Merkurov, renowned Soviet sculptor
  • Israel Militosyan, weightlifting Olympic champion (1992)
  • Ashot Mkhitaryan, distinguished weightlifting trainer
  • Levon Mkrtchyan, film director
  • Mher Mkrtchyan, renowned actor
  • Artavazd Peleshyan, film director
  • Artur Petrosyan, footballer, manager of the Armenian team
  • Samvel Sevada, painter and poet
  • Sheram, celebrated gusan, poet and composer
  • Hovhannes Shiraz, celebrated Armenian poet
  • Nariné Simonian French-Armenian musical director
  • Karen Smbatyan, Armenian painter
  • Svetlana Svetlichnaya, actress
  • Armen Tigranian, opera composer
  • Nikoghayos Tigranian, composer and ethnomusicologist
  • Gennady Timchenko, Russian businessman
  • Seda Tutkhalyan, Russian gymnast
  • Valmar, Armenian painter
  • Yurik Vardanian, weightlifting Olympic champion (1980)
  • Boris Vladimirov, Soviet Army officer

Gyumri: See also

  • Aleksandropolsky Uyezd
  • Sev Berd
  • Russian 102nd Military Base
  • List of Honorary Citizens of Gyumri

Gyumri: References

  1. Russian: Александрополь; Armenian: Ալեքսանդրապոլ
  2. Armenian: Լենինական; Russian: Ленинакан
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  42. Ապրիլի մեկի խորհուրդն ու գյումրվա հումորի առանձնահատկությունները
  43. «Սարի պես բանցր Գյումրին» եւ նրա հումորի լեգենդները
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  • Official municipality website
  • Surp Amenaprkich cathedral in Gyumri
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