Alexandrapol Era Architecture
Alexandrapol that used to be an important fortified city was in the crossroad of Caucasian, Russian and European civilizations. It has its reflections in city’s culture, especially in architecture.
There were several house plans in Gyumri, including single wing, double wing and corner or “L” shaped house plans. Several had plans with a central wall and rooms that led from one to the next, the back rooms looking onto a garden.
Homes were substantial, made of stone, and were built around central courtyards that included stables and areas for communal activities, gardening and rest. Courtyards featured wooden balconies with elaborate balustrades and porch cornices. The houses themselves often used patterns and symbols from Armenian Khachkars (stone crosses) or preChristian carvings in the cornices, above windows or at the top of walls.
One famous pattern was a diamond effect made from red and black tufa (Armenia’s most abundant stone) on the wall.
Buildings built between 1860-1880 favored the black and red tufa patterns that could be called the “Alexandropol” style. In that period, a type of white concave masonry called “Ghaiytan darz sharvatsk” was used.
From 1880, black tufa became the predominant color, with arches above windows and doors and white joints until around 1890, when the white joints were joined by a type of masonry called “S’rbatash sharvatsk”.
In the late Russian period some buildings were painted over in bright hues of blue, pink and yellow. Their original colors were restored in the 20th century, though some buildings are still covered with this Russian Imperial style of paint.
According to the story, when the architects arrived in Alexandrapol from St. Pittsburg, they walked around the city and said they said that local architectures and craftsmen made one big mistake in their work.They did not build their city on wheels so that they can roll it all over the world and show everyone how amazing the city is.