Gyumri has been inhabited since ancient times. In ancient time, there was Kumayri settlement in the place of the city. Settlements that have recently been discovered date back to the beginning of 3rd millenium B.C.E. (the meat factory, Black Fortress, Vardbagh).
The oldest mention of a state in the are of Gyumri was in the 8th century in an Urartian inscription and the state was called Irdanuni. It was located not far from the current village 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 first is 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 the living evidence of Kumayri’s existence is the old district preserved as the oldest area of the city. This area has unique attributes belonging to Gyumri’s long and rich history, such as houses in 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 the Marmashen monastery which dates back to X-XI centuries.