Gyumri (previously Kyumayri and later Alexsandrapol) is the second biggest city and the cultural capital of Armenia, located in 144 km distance from the capital city Yerevan. It is in Shirak Province. If you are into culture and if you want to spend some time in a place that inspires artists to create new works, then travel to Gyumri- the city of music, humor, science, a city with a rich theatrical past and present, a city of writers, artists, singers, and sportsmen. This list seems a bit long for a place that had been destroyed during the 1987 earthquake, but it rose like a phoenix from the ruins and thanks to the will of the people of Gyumri it kept its uniqueness where, on each step, you feel the spirit of the 19th century.
Red and black tufa buildings spread all over the city cover it with mysterious voile and you want to enter each building on your way just to see what's inside. Actually this way you can explore much more than just searching stuff on the internet.
You can stop by Ceramics production school that was reconstructed thanks to Antonio Montalto, the honorary council of Italy to Armenia. Here you can follow how actually handmade ceramics are being prepared and should you wish you can also buy some. Mushurba statue is another interesting thing that you may wish to see. It makes special sounds when you put water in it. What kind of sound, you'll know when you visit it.
Other sites to visit are the old theater that is at the beginning of Gyumri Central Park and Sev Berd (black fortress) that is a cultural heritage of Gyumri and is located in 8 km distance from the Turkish border.
Credits to Igor Dymov
To know more about city life and people of Gyumri there are a couple of museums to be visited such as The Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life, Hovhannes Shiraz museum (writer), Avetik Isahakyan’s Museum (writer), Mher Mkrtchyan’s house museum (actor).
If you want to visit galleries you may have many options out of which I will highlight Aslamazyan Sisters Gallery in a very beautiful Gyumri style building as well as National Aesthetic Center Gyumri Branch, Style Gallery exhibition in case if they have an ongoing exhibition during your travel period.
No trip can be good without good food. Actually here you can try traditional food at the Poloz-mukuch restaurant, Hatsatoun, Cherkezi Dzor (they serve fish and many other tasty dishes), restaurant in Alexandrapol Hotel and etc.
Besides exploring cultural sites, it is also interesting to go, to meet and to talk to random people and you will see in their eyes the will of hardworking, proud and creative gyumretsi (Gyumri people). People in Armenia are very friendly and you do not need to know them to talk to them. They will show you the hidden places of their city and will help you have the best of possible fun.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.