Old Gyumri Tour

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


Giumri Walking Tour

Giumri Walking Tour

About this tour

This tour explores the northern districts of the old city, part of Historic Giumri which is under the protection of the Kumaiyri Historic Preserve.  It can begin at any point on the plan.  The tour features the old city's historic houses, workshops, taverns, and museums.  By walking the old streets of this living historic district, you can imagine the lifestyle of 19th century “Giumretsis”, who in creating their “new” city in the Russian Empire, managed to turn traditional Armenian design into a completely new genre of Caucasus Architectural style.

Alexandropol: The Armenian Belle Epoque

Old Giumri (Alexandropol) was divided into several regions, or “Mailahs”, among them Geghtsonts or Peasants; Slabodka; Greek or Urumneri; Katolikneri, or Frank; Boshi or Traders and Turki Mailah.  Rich and poor lived side by side, each building as substantial and elegant as funds allowed.  The difference between wealth was in quantity, not quality, as buildings on this tour show.  Even the humblest abode boasts a style and attention to detail lacking in modern structures. 

There were several house plans in Giumri, including single wing, double wing and corner or “L” shaped house plans.  Several had plans with a central wall and rooms that led from one to the next, the back rooms looking onto a garden. 

Homes were substantial, made of stone, and were built around central courtyards that included stables and areas for communal activities, gardening and rest.  Courtyards featured wooden balconies with elaborate balustrades and porch cornices.  The houses themselves often used patterns and symbols from Armenian Khachkars (stone crosses) or pre-Christian carvings in the cornices, above windows or at the top of walls.  One famous pattern was a diamond effect made from red and black tufa (Armenia's most abundant stone) on the wall.

Certain common rules apply in detecting building time periods and styles:

Pre 1860-1880 Buildings built between 1860-1880 favored the black and red tufa patterns that could be called the “Alexandropol” style.  In that period, a type of white concave masonry called “Ghaiytan darz sharvatsk” was used.

From 1880, black tufa became the predominant color, with arches above windows and doors and white joints until around 1890, when the white joints were joined by a type of masonry called “S'rbatash sharvatsk”.

In the late Russian period some buildings were painted over in bright hues of blue, pink and yellow.  Their original colors were restored in the 20th century, though some buildings are still covered with this Russian Imperial style of paint. 

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


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The Honorary Consul for Italy in Gyumri


Armenian Travel Bureau




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