Top 10 places to see in Gyumri

Top 10 places to see in Gyumri

Gyumri is the second largest city of Armenia. It’s the centre of the Shirak region. The area of the city has been populated since ancient times. Settlements that have recently been discovered date back  to the beginning of the 3rd millenium B.C.E. The oldest mention of a state in the area of Gyumri was in the 8th century in an Urartian inscription. The area was located not far from the current village Marmashen, and was identified with the name of «Kumayri».Over the centuries name «Kumayri» went through changes and became Kumri, then Gumri and now Gyumri.  

The name of the city has been changed several times. During the  Russian rule in 19th century the city was named Alexandrapol (1837)  in honour of Tsar Nicholas I’s wife Alexandra Fydorovna. Later being under the Soviet rule, the name of the city was  changed to Leninakan (1924) after  Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. Now the city is called Gyumri.

Gyumri is the city where you will feel the diversity of startling architectural style. It is one of the few armenian cities where the spirit of 19th century is still alive. Take a look at top amazing places in Gyumri that you should visit once you’re in Gyumri.

 

1.Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life

top places gyumri

Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life is one of the most attractive and a must visit museums in Gyumri. The museum is an old mansion, housing collections related to both history and the everyday-life of Gyumri as well as the local cultural and architectural characteristics of the city.

The famous house was built by a first class and rich trader, Petros Dzitoghtsyan in 1872. It is built with the famous indigenous red tuff stone of Shirak. The architect of the building came up with a very smart solution to build the house on a splay. The eastern part is one floor, while the western has two floors.  The building did not suffer even minor damages during the 1926 and 1988 earthquakes.

 

2.Vardanants Square

top places gyumri

The central square called Vardanants Square was formerly known as the May Uprising square. The square is decorated with several fountains with a memorial to the Battle of Avarayr at the central part. The memorial was erected in 2008 and includes a group of historic Armenian figures who led the Armenian army’s campaign against Sassanid Persia.

 

3.Holy Saviors’ Church

top places gyumri

Holy Savior’s Church or St Amenaprkich  is the highest church in Armenia with its 36m height.  It was constructed between 1858 and 1872. The design of the church was derived from the architecture of the Cathedral of Ani. However the Holy Saviors’ Church is much larger than the Cathedral of Ani. The architect was Tadeos Andikyan, a famous master of masters. At beginning of the 1930s, it was confiscated by the Soviet government and the belfry was destroyed in 1932. During the 1988 devastating earthquake, the Church of the Holy Saviors’ was severely damaged and went through an entire renovation process since 2002. Currently, the renovation is at its final staged, but it is open to the visitors.

 

 4.Yot Verq (Seven Wounds) Church

top places gyumri

Located on the northern part of the square the Seven Wounds of the Holy Mother of God is a 19th century church. This church has the oldest icon in town,  “Seven Wounds of Virgin Mary”,. The name of the church is related to the icon which, according to the legends, was painted on a parchment by Luke the Evangelist.. The church belongs to the Cruciform style of the Armenian churches with an external rectangular shape. The belfry is located at the top of the main entrance on the western side of the building. After devastating Earthquake in 1988 the 2 minor domes fell down and they were replaced with new ones. You can see the fallen domes  currently placed in the church yard.

 

5.Theater Square

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Gyumri’s Theater square is one of the favourite places of Gyumri people. It  is a big leisure area composed with the statues of Mher Mkrtchyan, Avetik Isahkyan and Hovhannes Shiraz. Different performances take place here all around the year. There are always new plays in each theatrical season. The drama theater named after Vardan Achemyan is an example of Soviet architecture, built in 1973-1974.

 

6. Shiraz House Museum

Shirazmuseum

Hovhannes Shiraz is a Gyumri born outstanding Armenian poet. His house museum is located in Shahumyan Street, where that part was renamed as Varpetats street. The house was built in 1883 by a rich Alexandrapol citizen Qeshishyan. The western facade has a luxurious gate leading to the inner yard. After the Soviet revolution, the house was confiscated and served as a residential block. In the 1980s apartments were allocated to the families who lived in the museum and in 2003 the house museum of Hovhannes Shiraz was officially opened in that building.

7.Sergey Merkurov’s House Museum

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Sergey Dmytrevich Merkurov was a prominent Soviet sculptor-monumentalist of Greek-Armenian descent, who wasborn and educated in Gyumri. His house-museum was opened in Gyumri in his family house in 1984. The house was built in 1869 by Merkurov’s ancestors.  Merkurov’s most famous collection is the death masks of famous people and world leaders during his lifetime. He is an author of more than 300 death masks. The post-mortem masks of 59 Soviet leaders and famous people are displayed in the museum, including the only original death mask of Lenin, located on the southern wall of the museum second floor. 

 

8.Mother Armenia Monument

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Mother Armenia monument was built in 1975 by sculptors Ara Sargsyan and E. Vardanyan, and the architect is Rafik Yeghoyan, renowned Armenian architect from Gyumri.  It features the victories of the Armenians, namely the Soviet victory in the Second World War. The proudly standing Armenian woman statue symbolizes the victory holding wheat spikes in her hand. The monument is made of bronze and is the biggest monument in Gyumri. When looking at the statue from the Armenian side you will see a victorious woman but if you look at the statue from the Turkish or Western side it looks like an attacking dragon.

 

9.Mher Mkrtchyan museum

Frunzikmuseum

Mher Mkrtchyan is one of Armenians’ favorite actors of all time. He was born in Leninakan in 1930. He is a widely known Armenian actor who performed both in theatre and in cinema. His museum is located on Rustaveli Street in a 20th century building made of black tuff.  The Rustaveli street part was reconstructed and Mher Mkrtchyan’s museum was opened in 2004, while the official opening ceremony was held in 2006. The museum covers the life and career events of the great actor.

 

10.Yuzbashov Residential House

Yuzhbashov

During the Alexandrapol period wealthy families would built houses for all members of their families, so big that they would be big enough even after the marriage of the sons of the family. This specific house is a bright example of a big family house and was built at the first half of the 20th century and belonged to the rich family of Yuzbashyans. It is a one floor building with unique arches and vaults. It has a large cellar on the ground floor. The house has a large courtyard with wooden balconies and yard fence. The building’s first floor is used as a residential apartment block for different families, and the cellar belongs to the Kumayri Preserve Museum.