Shirak region was formed on December 4, 1995 and comprises the territories of the
former administrative districts of Akhuryan, Amasia, Ani, Ashotsk and Artik. It covers a
2681 sq 2 , comprises 119 communities and 131 rural settlements as well as the towns of
Gyumri, Artik and Maralik. Gyumri, the administrative centre of the region is situated 116
kilometers from Yerevan.
The province is situated in the north-west of the RA at a height of 4090 meters above sea
The territory of the region is woodless, rather volcanic cones and lava-streams are char-
acteristic of it. The region is rich in buildings materials.
The climate is cold, mountain. The coldest spot in Armenia, the village of Paghakn, is
situated in this region.
The center of the region is Gyumri - one of the most ancient cities of Armenia, which
was called Kumairi in antiquity, in the years 1924-1990 it was called Leninakan and 1990
was again renamed into Gyumri. The picturesque city is situated in Shirak valley, on the left
bank of the River Akhuryan at a height of 1556 meters above sea level. In December 1988 a
devastating earthquake ruined the city and its environs. 17 years have passed already since
that day but the consequences of the earthquake are not eliminated yet, the city is being built
up anew and reconstructed.
One of the architectural monuments of Gyumri is Kumairi - a four-taloned church with a
dome erected in the VII century. Gyumri is a city of original architecture. The city abounds
in ancient Armenian architectural constructions - churches, private residences, etc. Among
the sights of the city are the monument to Mother Armenia, the bronze monument of Avetik
Isahakyan and others.
Gyumri is a centre of folk music (ashugh music). Folk singers (ashughs) Jamali, Khayat,
Jivany, and Sheram lived and composed in this city. Gyumri is also a theatrical city on whose
stages acted almost all the stars of the Armenian scenic art. Many outstanding figures of sci-
ence, culture and literature are from Gyumri by origin.
St. Grigor the Illuminator Church erected in 980-985 is still preserved in Haykadzor vil-
lage of the region. Horomos Monastery or Ghoshavank , an outstanding representative of
Armenian architecture, is situated on the right bank of the River Akhuryan, on the territory
of Turkey. It was founded in the first half of the X century. Not far from the monastery, on
the road leading to Ani rise the two domed towers of the gates called Triumphal Arch, which
were probably built in the centuries X-Xl and the monastery was called Ghoshavank Monas-