Gyumri has been inhabited since ancient times. Kumayri settlements were in place of the city, which recently have been discovered to date back to the beginning of 3rd millennium B.C.E. (the meat factory, Black Fortress, Vardbagh).
The oldest mention of a state in the area of Gyumri was in the 8th century from a Urartian inscription called Irdanuni. It was located not far from the current village of Marmashen, and was identified with the name “Kumayri”. Kumayri was located in what is now the western part of the city, on the left side of the Cherkez Canyon River. The settlement named Kumayri was first mentioned in 774, and then again in the 13th century. No further information about the settlement was recorded until the beginning of 19th century.
Today, living evidence of Kumayri’s existence can be found in the oldest area of the city, which has been preserved. This area has unique attributes belonging to Gyumri’s long and rich history, such as houses built with indigenous red and black tuff, a volcanic stone used for construction.
There are majestic medieval Armenian architectural monuments in the surrounding areas of the city. One of them is known as the Marmashen monastery, which dates back to X-XI centuries.