City of Black Tuff Stone

City of Black Tuff

Capital city Yerevan is also known as “Pink City” because of the main stone used in construction, pink tuff. Just like that, Gyumri is called “City of black tuff” as the black tuff used to be the main consturcting material.

Tuff (Italian: tufo)  is a rock type, consisting of volcanic ash extruded during volcanic eruption which has stiffened over time. Tuff consists of fragments of volcanic glass, pumice. That rock of volcanic origin is the main building stone used in our country.

Tuff is an excellent building material, it is relatively easily cut and ripped.It is easier to cut than harder stones like granite. But it is strong enough and resists to weather changes properly.Tuff is a high quality stone with a color that doesn’t change regardless of weather conditions (hot, cold, rainy or dusty). Due to porosity, the inner side of the building protects from cold in winter, and in summer from hot. Color of tuff varies from pink to red or ginger. Also tuff can be black or dark brown. A wide range of colors gives a possibility to lay out original design on pavements and facade buildings, combines tiles of different colors.

The Etruscans and theRomans used tuff a lot in early temples and in their tombs. But gradually they began to use travertine and marble instead. By the time ofJulius Caesar, tuff was mainly used where it wouldn’t show- in the foundations of buildings, or where it was going to be covered with slabs of marble or stucco.

Tuff is common in Armenia, Nature has gifted Armenia with various, unique and high quality stones. One of the country’s main resources is a volcanic Tuff. Different type of tuff has a different density and porosity. It used for many buildings, villas and bridges, tuff is for civil construction. The quality of tuff is very high and it makes the architecture unique. Armenia holds some 3 billion cubic meters of tuff, an easily cut yet resilient material, and most buildings from the early Christian period forward are made from the orange, red, gold and black varieties of tuff.  

According to the characteristics Armenian tuffs are divided into 5 types:

  • Ani (yellow, orange)
  • Artik (pink, purple)
  • Yerevan (black, red)
  • Byurakan (pink with black stains, dark grey with black stains)
  • Felsite (inwrought).

Read Also