Gyumri, Armenia Culture


Museums and art

Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum

from Wikipedia by Armineaghayan CC BY-SA 3.0

Gyumri is home to many prominent museums of Armenia, including the House-Museums of sculptor Sergey Merkurov, poets Avetik Isahakyan and Hovhannes Shiraz, and actor Mher Mkrtchyan. The Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum, built in the 1880s, is home to more than 700 drawings, paintings and other works of the Aslamazyan sisters who were the Soviet-era artists. The Dzitoghtsyan Museum of Social Life and National Architecture of Gyumri is an old mansion, housing collections related to both history and the everyday-life of Gyumri, as well as paintings and other works of art.
Throughout centuries, Kumayri-Gyumri was labelled as the "city of crafts and arts", being famous for its schools, theaters and gusans.
In 1865, an amateur theatre group in Gyumri performed H. Karinyan's "Shushanik". In 1912, Gyumri was home to the first opera show ever staged in Armenia, when composer Armen Tigranian presented Anoush to the public in Alexandropol. In 1923, the first Armenian opera theatre was opened in Gyumri (where the first ballet performance in Armenia took place in 1924), while the Vardan Ajemian State Drama Theatre was founded in 1928. Prominent directors Ruben Simonov and Vardan Ajemian, actors Mher Mkrtchyan, Azat Sherents and Varduhi Varderesyan worked in theatre. The theatre's new building was opened in 1972. The artistic director is Nikolay Tsaturyan. Gyumri is known for its 19th-century architecture and urban constructions.
The first printing house of Gyumri was founded in 1876 by G. Sanoyan and operated until 1918. It published literary works (including Avetik Isahakyan's first book), calendars, textbooks. Another printing house, Ayg (founded 1892), published historical books and the first periodical of Gyumri, Akhuryan.
Gyumri is home to the Gyumri Biennial, organized by the artist Azat Sargsyan and the Gyumri Centre of Contemporary Art (GCCA). Gyumri was officially declared Commonwealth of Independent States cultural capital in 2013.


A statue of two gusans in Gyumri, depicting Sheram and Jivani

from Wikipedia by Arman musikyan CC BY-SA 3.0

The city of Gyumri has a great contribution in Armenian folk music. Throughout the 19th century, Alexandrapol was considered the centre of folk and traditional Armenian music. The musical culture of Alexandrapol has greatly influenced the art of Jivani, who is considered the founder of modern Armenian folk music during the 19th century. Another 19th-century ashik Sheram who was born in Alexandropol, is one of the earliest gusans of traditional Armenian music in the modern history of Armenia. He is one of the most celebrated Armenian composers of folk music.
The mystic philosopher of Alexandropol George Gurdjieff has produced many influential works of music during the 20th century.
Different genres of music became popular in the city during the 2nd half of the 20th century. Rock, folk rock and ethnic rock are widely popular through the local famous rock band Bambir, active since 1978.
In 1986, the Gyumri State Orchestra of Folk Instruments was founded, followed by the Gyumri State Symphonic Orchestra founded in 1993. In 1997, the KOHAR Symphony Orchestra and Choir was founded in Gyumri through the efforts of the Lebanese-Armenian philanthropist Harout Khatchadourian. Soon after, KOHAR became one of the most celebrated choirs in Armenia as well as throughout the Armenian diaspora.
Influenced by Gurdjieff, the Armenian musician Levon Eskenian founded The Gurdjieff Ensemble in 2008. The award-winning ensemble gathers many of Armenia's leading practitioners of traditional music, performing on duduk, sring, kamancha, oud, kanōn, santur, tar, saz, daf, dhol, and tombak.
The Renaissance international music festival of Gyumri is held annually since 2009.


Kirk Kerkorian (formerly Alexandrovsky) Street of Kumayri district

from Wikipedia by Preacher lad CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Kumayri historic district: is the old part of Gyumri with its unique architecture. It has more than a thousand buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The district is one of few places in the Republic of Armenia, and the world, with authentic urban Armenian architecture. Almost all the structures of the Kumayri district have survived the two major earthquakes in 1926 and 1988 respectively. The historic district of Kumayri occupies the central and western part of modern-day Gyumri.

  • Sev Berd or the Black Fortress (Armenian: Սև բերդ; Russian: Чёрная Кре́пость, Chornaya Krepost): is an abandoned Russian imperial fortress in Gyumri built between 1834 and 1847, located 8km east of the closed border with Turkey. It was erected in response to the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829. Currently, it is a national cultural heritage monument of Armenia, used as an art and cultural centre

  • The monumental statue of Mother Armenia erected in 1975.

  • Vartanants Square is the central town square of Gyumri.

  • Independence Square.

  • Charles Aznavour Square.

  • Garegin Nzhdeh Square.

  • Gyumri Central Park, founded during the 1920s on the site of the old cemetery of the city.

  • Statue of Avetik Isahakyan (Gyumri)

The restoration process of the damaged buildings of Gyumri has been spearheaded by Earthwatch to preserve the city's unique architecture.
In spite of suffering severe damages during the disastrous earthquake in December 1988, Gyumri is still preserving its own architectural characteristics.

Local customs

Rentable horse-drawn carriage at the centre of Gyumri

from Wikipedia by Preacher lad CC BY-SA 4.0

The residents are Gyumri are widely known as conservative people. Traditions and local customs are widely preserved by the local citizens. It is very common among Armenians to refer to the dignity of Gyumri (Armenian: Գյումրվա թասիբ Gyumrva tasib).
Gyumri is considered to be the "laughter and humor capital" of Armenia. The jokes and anecdotes of famous local humorists like Jgher Khachik and Poloz Mukuch are widely known by the local citizens. Many works have been published to narrate about the legacy and heritage of the humor in Gyumri.
The city celebrates the "Gyumri Day" annually on the first Sunday of October. It is marked with many cultural and entertainment activities.


Gyumri has 4 regional TV stations:

  • Tsayg TV, operating since 1991.

  • Shirak Public TV, operating since 1992.

  • Gala TV, operating since 2005.

  • Shant, operating since 1994.

"Shrjapat" weekly is the local newspaper of Gyumri.