Gyumri is one of the oldest cities in the world. With its population, territory, economical and cultural significance it is the second city of Armenia. Gyumri is situated in the north-west of Armenia at the distance of 126 km from Yerevan. The length of Shirak valley where Gyumri is situated is about 35 km and the breadth is about 25 km. This valley borders upon Turkey and Iran. People lived here from time immemorial. Gyumri emerged during the Argishti dynasty in VIII century BC. A cuneiform inscription found in the village of Vahramaberd (Akhurian region) tells about the settlement called Kumayri. The Greek historian and military leader Xenophon also mentioned about this settlement in his Anaebasis. Leninakan has been the official name of the city since 1924. Gyumri is known as the center of traditional Armenian architecture, science, public health service, tourism. The inhabitants of Gyumri have gained the reputation of hospitable hosts with rich sense of humor. But the terrible earthquake in 1988 overthrew by its infernal waves the city into ruins. Vanadzor, Spitak, Aragats, Stepanavan, Amasia were destroyed. The total death toll from the earthquake which devastated northern Armenia on December 7, is thousands of men, women and children. Gyumri exists for more than 2,500 years and this fertile land gave birth to worldly known scientists and writers, poets and musicians. Among them Anania Shirakatsi – brilliant mathematician and astronomer (7 c. AD), famous architect Trdat (10 c. AD), prominent poets Avetik Issahakian and Hovhannes Shiraz, talented composers Tigran Chukhadjian and Armen Tigranian, minstrels – Djivani, Sheram, and others.
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