Shirak Region


Area: 2,680 km2

Population: 251,941 (2011)

Shirak region is situated in the northwest of Armenia and borders on Georgia and Turkey. It is known for its mountains, healing high-mountain air, green valleys, and mild climate. The administrative center is Gyumri, other cities are Artik, Maralik.

Gyumri is located in the northwestern part of the region and the second largest city in Armenia. The city has changed its name for several times, in the 19 the century it was Alexandrapol, then it was renamed Leninakan during the Soviet period, at last in 1992 when Armenia became the independent country, the name of the city has changed and became Gyumri.

Unfortunately, on December 8, 1988, the terrible earthquake destroyed the city, killed 50,000 people and injured 130,000. The town was ruined. But after that horrible accident, the people stood up again and started to build the city again, that’s why they are the strongest people of Armenia.

In Gyumri there is the historic district where you can see the old part of the town, the buildings stand there from 18th and 19 the centuries.

Historical sights of Shirak Region

Trchkan waterfall

Trchkan waterfall is one of the most beautiful places in Armenia. It is located between the regions of Lori and Shirak. You should only visit here once and will fall in love with the view forever.  Trchkan is the highest waterfall in Armenia; it is also called Chichkan waterfall because it falls into the Chychkan river.

The villagers who live near the waterfall gave the name "Chran" (Ճռան, Squeaky, noisy) because of its sound.  

People say that Chichkhan river was full of trout. During the breeding season, they swam upstream and then jumped from the waterfall. Therefore, the residents decided to call the waterfall "Trchkan", which means a jump in Armenian.

The Marmashen Monastery

Marmashen monastery is another attraction in the Shirak region. It is located far from the settlements, in a very picturesque place, 10 km from the city of Gyumri, in the village of Marmashen. The temple(red tuf) was built in the X-XIII centuries.

Ereruyk Basilica

Ereruyk is an ancient Armenian Church located near the village of Anipemza (Shirak region) on the left bank of the Akhuryan river. Ereruyk -is three-nave Basilica Church, which was built in 4-5 centuries on the same site of the pagan altar; it was made by a light orange tuff and had 6 pillars, but now it is in a dilapidated state.

The word Ereruyk comes from the word "sacrifice" - an ancient pagan custom. Another version of the word "Yereruyk" comes from the Armenian word "yereral - երերալ", which means to swing.

Museums of Shirak Region

If you are in Shirak region, visit the museums of the great Armenian poets Avetik Isahaky, Hovhannes Shiraz and the great actor Mher Mkrtchyan. They are all located on the same street in Gyumri.

They are the great sons of the Armenian people, and their life is interesting to every Armenian. Gyumri is also known as the city of arts and crafts.

The Shirak airport and railway station

Shirak international airport has regular flights to Moscow and St. Petersburg which was built in 1961. In 2007, the airport was closed for rebuilding. Since 2014, Gyumri airport has been exempt from air tax to make it more attractive for low-cost airlines.

In fact, the oldest and largest railway junction is in Gyumri, operates trips to Tbilisi, Batumi, and Yerevan. This is a very convenient mode of transport especially in winter when the roads are impassable due to weather conditions. The Gyumri-Yerevan train works every day.

The population of Shirak Region

According to the calculations of 2011, 251 941 people live in Shirak, 99.13% of them are Armenians. Locals love to tell jokes and are known for their sharp humor. Among these people, you will find peace of mind, warmth, and comfort.

The Climate of the region

The climate in Shirak region is quite cold with winter frosts up to - 45 degrees․ In spring and summer rains are frequent, on the plateau, there are often droughts.



Gyumri is the capital of Shirak region and the second largest city of Armenia. It is located in the northwestern part of the region.

History of Gyumri

This city has changed its name for several times, first it was Alexandrapol (in the 19 the century) then it was renamed Leninakan during the Soviet period, at last in 1992 it has changed the name of the city and called Gyumri.

Sights of Gyumri

The oldest streets but meanwhile new buildings decorate the city showing the greatness of Armenian architecture. The oldest and the largest railway junction is in Gyumri, which operates trips to Tbilisi, Batumi, and Yerevan.

The climate of Gyumri is mountainous and has mild summers and cold winters. The air is healthy and fresh. The city is still recovering from the damages of the terrible Spitak’s earthquake. It happened on December 7th in 1988. The earthquake destroyed the city; many people were killed and injured, losing their relatives and houses. But, even after that, the people of Gyumri stood up again and started to rebuild their lovely city. That’s why the people of Gyumri are considered to be the strongest ones in Armenia.

This city is also known as the country’s capital of humor. The people have a great sense of humor, they like to tell jokes and funny stories to others. The Armenian champions were born in Gyumri. The local people call the city "the champion of the whole world". Champions like Arthur Aleksanyan, Levon Julfalakyan, Yuri Vardanyan, Tigran Martirosyan showed the world the strength of Armenia and Gyumri.

The Architectural Museum of Gyumri is the most attractive and the most visited museum. It is the old house which has represents Gyumri’s history, local culture, and everyday life. This museum was the house of famous trader Petros Dzitoghtsyan and it was founded in 1872. It was built by the famous red Tufa stone. Gyumri’s Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life was created in that house. It presents the proud history of the town and it is decorated with traditional Armenian rugs and other decoration.

 The father town of Armenia has many churches, sculptures, historical and cultural monuments. So the city is rich with places of interest. It is famous for galleries and house-galleries.

• Merkurov’s house gallery will help you to know the history of nowadays Gyumri.

• Aslamazyan sister’s house gallery will show you the classic style of the city. There are about 700 drawings, canvas and other pieces of art

• The house gallery of Hovhannes Shiraz is worth to see. There you will be informed about the life and the activity of great Armenian poet  

• The other gallery that you should visit is the talented Mher Mkrtchyan’s house gallery

So if you have visited the mother town of Armenia(Yerevan), you should also visit its father town.



The Architectural Museum of Gyumri

The Architectural Museum of Gyumri is the most attractive and the most visited museum in Gyumri. This museum is the old house which has represents Gyumri’s history, local culture, and everyday life.

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