Sitting in the north western region of the country in the central Shirak Highland is Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri. It is situated around 126 kilometres away from the capital city of Yerevan, roughly 472 metres above sea level.
Gyumri was once one of Russian-ruled Eastern Armenia’s largest cities, which can be seen today in some of its architecture. The black stone buildings were predominately built in 1800s Russian style, with a Russian army base dominating much of the city centre. Still, evidence shows that the city dates back to the 3rd millennium BC.
Gyumri is often overlooked by tourists, or only visited on a day trip from Yerevan, but it is worth exploring the city further. It is home to some prominent museums, lovely parks and the impressive Kumayri historic district. Many may not realise this, but there is quite a lot to do in the city.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Gyumri:
1. Walk around the historic district
Kumayri is the oldest part of Gyumri, boasting some unique architecture that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. It is one of the only places in the country to see authentic urban Armenian architecture.
The district is home to over 1,000 buildings, telling the story of the city’s past. Luckily, this district has survived two major earthquakes; one in 1926 and one in 1988, giving tourists and Armenians the chance to enjoy the unique buildings located here.
Kumayri sits in the centre of modern Gyumri, though it is anything but. It is a small district that is best seen on foot, featuring unique buildings like the Poloz Mukuch Beerhouse and Araks Hotel.