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Home :: Attractions :: Gyumri
Gyumri
Gyumri is one of the oldest cities in the world. With its population, territory, economical and cultural significance it is the second city of Armenia. Gyumri is situated in the north-west of Armenia at the distance of 126 km from Yerevan. The average height above sea-level is 1500 meters. This valley borders upon Turkey and Iran. The relief of the valley is that of plain. The air here is clear and healthy. Gyumri enjoys almost 2500 hours of sunshine a year. The average flow of water brought to town from abundant springs represents about 1200 litres per second. The climate is continental, the minimum temperature recorded here in winter - 35'C, the maximum temperature recorded +34'C; the annual rainfall represents 500 mm. Leninakan is situated in a seismic active zone, the last destructive earthquake was in 1926.

In 1987 Gyumri counted 230,000 inhabitants, 96,8 % of which were Armenians, the others - Russians, Greeks, Curds. The Shirak valley is one of the plateaus of the Armenian upland situated in the slopes of Aragats Mountain which is the highest mountain in the territory of(4095m).

People lived here from time immemorial. Gyumri emerged during the Argishty dynasty in VIII century B.C. A cuneiform inscription found in the village of Vahramaberd tells about the settlement called Kumairie. The Greek historian and military leader Xenophon also mentioned about this settlement in his Anaebasis. Leninakan has been the official name of the city since 1924, before it had other names: Gimira, Kumairie, Gyumrie. In 1837 the Russian Emperor Nikolai the First visited Gyumri and named it Alexandropol after the name of his wife - Empress Alexandra. The Emperor built Russian church, founded military castles and frontier fortifications and the town became an important outpost of the Russian Empire. In 1924, after Lenin's death the town was called Leninakan in memory of the leader of the Russian Revolution.

Leninakan exists more than 2,500 years and this fertile land gave birth to worldly known scientists and writers, poets and musicians. Among them Anania Shirakatsi - brilliant mathematician and astronomer (VII cent. A.D.), famous architect Trdat (X cent. A.D.), prominent poets Avetik Issahakian and Hovhannes Shiraz, talented composers Tigran Chukhadjian and Armen Tigranian, minstrels - Djivani, Sheram.

Romans, Arabs, Tatars, Turks and Persians tried to conquer Armenia. They destroyed towns and villages, made terrible carnage, captured children. But in spite of these deplorable strikes of destiny Armenians never lost hope, they rebuilt their towns and villages, built new palaces and churches, castles and stone houses.

The rapid development of the city began in 1804 when it integrated with Russia. At that time hundreds of Armenian families came to settle here from the towns of Western Armenia. At the end of XIX century the population of Leninakan counted 32,000 inhabitants. After Tbilisi and Baku it was the third economical and cultural center in Transcaucasus. Leninakan has been known as the town of musicians and craftsmen and since 1899 when the steam-railway line from Tbilisi to Leninakan - Yerevan was opened, as the town of railway men. Leninakan became big railway junction and recorded rapid industrial, cultural and international trade development. Here acted theatrical and musical groups, in schools Armenian Russian, Latin, Greek and other languages were taught. Leninakan is also known as the center of traditional Armenian architecture, science, public health service, tourism. The inhabitants of Leninakan have gained the reputation of hospitable hosts with rich sense of humor.

Rapid development of housing construction concentrated in the new dwelling estates, became evident in the growth of the population. To old streets were added new ones - with beautiful houses in them. The creative activity of inhabitants of Leninakan gave birth to new bridges and architectural ensembles which testify to constructive talent of Armenian people.

Alas! All these now is in the past. This book was in the process of being published when the terrible earthquake overthrew by its infernal waves the city into ruins. Kirovakan, Spitak, Aragats, Stepanavan, Amasia were also destroyed. The total death toll from the earthquake which devastated northern Armenia on December 7, is thousands of men, women and children.

Time will pass! Our destroyed towns and villages will arise from the ashes young again to live forever, because all the people of this country and many foreign countries are with us. The people of our planet have never shown such solidarity. Thousands of men and women from about 150 countries had come here to help Armenians and the grateful Armenians will never forget them.

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