The second largest city in Armenia is astonishing; it combines modern features with ancient history and cultural traditions. Gyumri city is located in Shirak region, 126 km away from Yerevan. The history of the city dates back for many centuries; the first settlement Kumyari appeared in 6th century AD. After the Russo-Persian war, in 1837, the city was renamed to Alexndropol and became one of the largest Russian-ruled cities in eastern part of the country. In 1924, Alexandropol was renamed to Leninakan. In 1988, this ancient city with beautiful architecture was severely damaged by the Spitak earthquake. Modern name the city got after liberation of Armenia.
Gyumri city is, also, called “City of culture”, but locals call it “Armenian Hollywood”; many famous Soviet movies were shot on the streets of Gyumri. Another name is “City of arts and crafts”, because there’re a lot of school and theaters. Among interesting things to do in the city is taking a walk around the Kumyari historic district. This district is only one in the country with original urban Armenian architecture. This museum under the open air allows travelers to immerse in historical atmosphere. All buildings in the district are built from black and red tuff; the surroundings of the city used to have big deposits of a volcanic stone. If you feel like experiencing the local color, there’s a ride in a phaeton around the city, as an option. Norther capital of Armenia is the only place, where you can try “kyalla”. The name of the dish translates as “head”; it’s made of a head of a bull that is baked for 10 hours without any spices. Travelers can visit one of the main monuments of the city – Black Fortress that was built in 1834. Today it’s historical and cultural museum-reserve. Today Gyumri city is an industrial center of the region with population of 121,000 people.