Interested in discovering old buildings, finding history on every corner of the streets and visiting museums that tell countless stories? Go to Gyumri, the second largest city of Armenia, also known as the country’s cultural capital.
Here is why Gyumri proudly wears this important title and why it should be on your list to visit, when in Armenia.
There is no other city like Gyumri that can be proud to have given so many great artists, not just to Armenia but around the world. The city even has a street called Varpetats poghoc (street of masters) where several staple museums are located. These museums have been houses of poets and actors. Stop by at museums of poets Avetik Isahakyan and Hovhannes Shiraz, and the famous Soviet-era artist Mher Mkrtchyan.
Walk your way to the main square and check out the fascinating Gallery of Mariam and Eranuhi Aslamazyan sisters. This two-story building showcases the paintings, graphics and ceramics by the artists. Having been to many different countries and adopting the spirit of so many different cultures, the works at this museum are jaw-dropping.
And finally, if you are interested in learning about the culture and history of the city itself, then visit the Gyumri Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life. As the city has a great contribution to the founding of Armenia’s folk music, you will also discover the instruments used at the time and stories about famous artists (gusans). From showcasing traditional costumes to the crafts the local masters were making, this museum will definitely impress you!
If you walk around Gyumri, you will feel the history preserved in each stone of an old house and an old building. Many famous sights where old Soviet movies have been shot are still standing there, attracting many visitors. If you visit Central Park, make sure to check out the Opera House, where Armenia’s very first Opera Theatre was staged.
(Tip: if you are interested in seeing a play, the city actually has an active dramatic theatre, which operates at another building).
Right next to it are old two-story buildings, where famous Soviet movies have been shot. Some of these buildings go as far back as early 1910-20s.
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