Old Gyumri Tour

Visit Kumayri museum, historic houses, workshops, taverns, guesthouses and museums that make up Old Gyumri (formerly known as Alexandropl).

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Cheraz Street

Cheraz Street:

59. Right: Dzitoghtsian Speculative House, 19 Cheraz Street, 19th-20th centuries. At the top of this two-story home made from black tufa you can see a wonderful example of Belle Époque design for the drainage scupper, maintained to this day. Decorated stone scuppers were typical for wealthy houses, and this is no exception.  

The sudden surge in people following the end of Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 and the completion of the Aleksandrapol-Yerevan-Tiflis railway led to the need for apartment buildings to house the growing population, and the construction of speculative houses such as this.

Spring Monument:

60. Right: Alexandrapol Memorial spring, 20th century. This spring was erected at the site of the Alexandrapol Publishing House, founded by Sanoyan Brothers in 1975.  The publishing-house printed the first collection of poems by the poet and Giumretsi Avetik Isahakian (his home is #46 on the walking tour). The front part of the spring is decorated with high relief-rosettes, while on the back are words from the poem published in this printing-house.

Continue down Abovian Street and notice the house next to the memorial spring.

61. Right: Tigranian Family House. In this two-story house made of black polished tufa lived  the composer, pianist, musical ethnographer and founder of musical Braille in Armenia, Nikoghaiyos Tigranian.  

Among famous guests at this home was the religious composer and musical ethnographer Komitas. Notice the beautiful bas relief above the main entrance, showing tethered animals flanking a Tree of Life figure with floral blooms and a bird overhead.

51. Left: All Savior Church was constructed in 1859-1866. The church was built with donations by Giumri citizens, especially the Drambian and Yuzbashian families. The Goroian family donated funds for the cross for the church while the Dzitokhtsian family presented curtain made of dark-red velvet sewn with gold thread. This church is almost an exact copy of the 8th century Astvatsatsin church at Ani, just across the current border with Turkey. It is said that while constructing this cathedral the mason visited every week Ani, studied the cathedral at Ani, and then returned to Aleksandrapol to copy the design.

During the Soviet period the cathedral was converted into a concert hall. Most of the building was destroyed during the 1988 earthquake. Reconstruction is carefully rebuilding the overall shape and size of the original building, trying to copy all details in new stone. When entire pieces of carving are destroyed, or only a few pieces remain, those few are combined with simple stone, the better to highlight the beauty of the older design.

Walk around the church and notice the elaborate carvings and bas relief sculptures that adorn the building.  

Continue down Abovian Street to Tumanian Street corner .

62. Right corner: Commercial Building, 19th-20th centuries. This two-story building was made of black polished tufa as a commercial row of store fronts. The first floor of the building was constructed at the end of the 19th century, while the second floor was constructed later. You can see the difference between the two floors.

One of the rooms was occupied by the “Zinger” firm.

Turn right on Tumanian and proceed up the block.

63. Left: Building, 1939. This half-destroyed building was to be the kindergarten for the clothing factory.  Above the main entrance you can see a memorial plate inscribed: “Clothing factory kindergarten. Constructed in 1939.”  The building once boasted an emblem of Soviet Armenia carved from red tufa.

64. Left:  Gymnasia, 1912. This three-story black tufa building—now Pushkin School ( # 6)—was formerly the “Olginyan Girl's Progymnasia”, built in 1912. This was one of the oldest educational institutions for girls in the Trans-Caucasus. One of the famous teachers and also the head of the school was Olimpiada Bogdanovna Andreasian.

The construction date is carved at the top of the façade. Go to the end of the building and to the side to see the main entrance made in wonderful Art Nouveau design.

Go back to Abovian, turn right and proceed down the block. 

The text for this walking tour was edited by the Kumaiyri Preserve-Museum.

 


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