Gyumri is one of the oldest cities in the world and has inhabitants dating back as far as the stone age. Located in Amenia, it is the capital of the Shirak Province. Today, it has approximately 169,000 inhabitants and is the second largest city in all of Armenia. The area has gone through several name changes since its inception, and has previously been known as Kumayri, Alexandrapol, and Leninakan. In 1990, it went back to a variation on its original name and, since that time, has been known as Gyumri.
The weather in this area is very dry during the summer months but extremely cold in the winter. Despite these extreme temperatures, tourists regularly flock to the area to visit many of its monuments and other historical sites. These include Sev Ghul, a Russian fortress built in the 1830s; the Aslamazyan Sisters House Museum; The Dzitoghtsyan House Museum, also known as the Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life of Gyumri; the Merkurov House Museum; the House Museum of Avetik Isahakyan; the House Museum of Hovhannes Shiraz; the House Museum of Mher Mkrtchyan; the Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God; the Church of the Holy Savior; the Surb Neshan Apostolic Church; the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Nikolai the Wondeworker; Saint Gregory the Illuminator's Church of Gyumri; Saint Jacob of Nisibis Apostolic Church; and Gyumri's Central Park. It is an excellent vacation spot for those with a passion for history or a love of ancient architecture.
Most of the natives to the area are practicing members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, though there are also members of the Armenian Catholic Church as well. A very small percentage also belong to the Russian Orthodox faith. Most locals, irregardless of their diverse faiths, tend to work in construction, in tourism related jobs, or in banking. The area also produces a great deal of construction supplies, yarn, textiles, and food for export. The city is also home to many famous athletes, most of whom have gained worldwide attention for competing in the Olympics. Natives from the area are known for being particularly skilled in long jumping, weight lifting, and Greco Roman wrestling, though natives have competed in many other worldwide Olympic sports as well. Well known athletes from the area include Levon Ishtoyan, Yurik Vardanian, Robert Emmiyan, Artur Petrosyan, Manvel Gamburyan, Ara Abrahamian, and Sergo Charkhoyan.A number of actors, actresses, politicians, and musicians hail from the city as well.
Gyumri is a fascinating place to visit. The locals are known for being friendly to tourists from all over the world, and it is a very educational spot, ideal for college or high school trips. However, people of all ages come to drink in the history and explore one of the world's oldest cities.
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