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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Gorka (Gusans) Square

Gorka (Gusans) Square: “The Dowry”, Gorka Park, Gusans, Jivani

7. Behind you to the right: “The Dowry”, 1900. This beautiful black tufa building with elegant windows and doors was a gift by the Drambian family to the groom on the marriage of their daughter Javahir Drambian. The lucky fellow was Gegham Ter-Petrosian, Mayor of Giumri, who not only moved in after his wedding but moved his mayoral office in too! The last five windows of the building on the Jivani (Slobodskaya – 15th) street side were added during Soviet times. Look closely and you can see the difference.

8. Facing: Gorka Park, 1890s, 1925-1928.  The large tufa gateway leads into the oldest part of the park, originally home to military offices and a gymnasia. The building inside the park on the left was first a public club, then a theater, host to the premiere of the opera “Anush” by the Armenian composer Armen Tigranian.  The building now houses Shirak TV. At the far end, the Rotunda has spectacular views of the Akhurian Valley, the Mother Armenia statue and the South Tower (“Sev Ghul”).

9. Center of square: The Gusans Statue commemorates two of Giumri's most famous 19th century gusaner (bards), Jivani (1846-1909) and Sheram (1857-1938). Jivani can be considered the father of Aleksandrapol ashugh folk music school; their compositions are now played at most Armenian celebrations, especially weddings.

From the end of the Middle Ages until the 19th century, folk music was profoundly influenced by the tradition of the gusan, the most famous of whom was Harutiun Sayatian, also known as Sayat Nova (1712?-1795). Most Armenian musicians consider the gusan as their intellectual guide and gusan songs are still passed from generation to generation in many households.

Continue up Jivani:

10. Left: Faded Yellow Dwelling, 1890s. The faded yellow paint on this house reveals a bit of Old Giumri history. 

11. Right: Multi-family dwelling, after 1920. This interesting mixture of styles with an overpowering balcony and shafts for column capitals is a bit of unknown Leninakan history. Who built it and why is still a mystery. It is, however a beautiful example of the Giumri penchant for “folk” architecture, where individual owners experimented with styles to suit their own tastes. This is but the first of several folk styles on this tour

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


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