Maralik is located in Shirak region on the western slope of Aragats Mountain at a height of 1,720 meters above sea level. It is 24 km from the administrative centre Gyumri and 98 km from the capital Yerevan. It has a humid continental climate with mild and cool summers and very cold, snowy winters.
The city was named after Maralik Mountain and means ‘little deer’. According to the legend, every year on the feast of Saint Stephen, a mountain deer approached the Monastery of the town to be sacrificed. The villagers caught the deer and sacrificed it in honour of Saint Stephen. However, once a hunter killed the deer approaching the monastery with a rifle, and since then the deer disappeared from the area.
Historically Maralik was part of the Shirak canton of the Ayrarat province of Great Armenia. The province was ruled by the Kamsarakan Armenian noble family during the reign of the Arsacid dynasty (52-428 AD) and later under Sassanid Persia (428-651).
Later the territory was granted to the Bagratunyats dynasty, who ruled Armenia from 885 to 1045. According to inscriptions found among the remains of medieval Armenian churches and khachkars of the 9th and 11th centuries, many religious and educational complexes were built here during the reign of the Bagratids.
The former Kaputan village was renamed Maralik in 1935 and was granted town status in 1962.
The Saints Paul and Peter Church (Poghos-Petros) and the Church of Saint Stephen (both well-preserved from the 19th century) are situated in the town. The medieval chapel of Ghushi is located 4.5 km southeast of the town.
The Church of the Holy Mother of God was built in Maralik in 1903 on the foundations of a 5th-century church.
There are many khachkars from the early and late medieval periods in the area of the town. The town is home to a cyclopean fortress and a settlement, both dating back to the 2nd millennium BC.
The bronze statue of Soghomon Tehlirian stands at the central square of the town.