Gyumri has always been recognized for its artisans, so it is no surprise that it has become distinctively known as the City of Crafts.
During the Alexandrapol era, the primary source of income and skill revolved around creative handiwork. In 1839, many families from Karin moved to Alexandrapol, which introduced a new variety of crafts to the people inhabiting the city. In the middle of the 19th century, the city had twenty-eight guilds and over 2,600 craftsmen. During this time, the number of artistic techniques reached the hundreds.
The crafts were distributed within the city by district and displayed on the streets. Located between Bezbend and Mali Maidans Streets was a well-known craft market which people called “Cհorsu”.
The most widespread craftsmen were masons, wallers, carpenters, blacksmiths, coppersmiths, goldsmiths, tinmen, etc. These positions were predominantly held by men, while women focused on needle-work, sewing, and carpet-making.
Craftsmen, or as people called them “varpets” enjoyed a great respect and honor among the people as they were known for their dedication to their work, which continued into late hours of each night.
The city continued its progression in craft making until the 1920’s when industry started developing in the city. Even though the significance of their role began to decline, some types of craft are still famous and used in modern-day Gyumri. An example of this is the “mushurba”, one of the unique symbols of Gyumri.