Gyumri is the second large city in Armenia. It lies on the Shirak plateau which crosses several mountain gorges. The city itself is located in the close quarters from the Aragats northern mountain ranges. Gyumri concentrates a lot of mineral deposits and the whole city’s southern part is located above an artesian basin.
In ancient time, there was Kumayri settlement in the place of the city. The settlement’s name originates from the name of the Cimmerian, the tribe (Scythian contemporaries) inhabited this territory. The Kumayri was mentioned for the first time in the VII-VI centuries BC. In the Middle Ages the city was named as Gyumri. For a long period, it was under the Arabs, then under the Turks and Persians. In the course of Russian-Persian wars Kumayri became a part of the Russian Empire in 1804, and in 1837 the territory of Kumayri became the place where the new Alexandropol Russian fortress was established in honor of Empress Alexandra Fyedorovna, the wife of Nikolai I. From that moment the city began its development. Late in the XIX century, when a rail junction was built there, the city became one of the trade centers in Transcaucasia. In 1924 the city was re-named to Leninakan and when Armenia was proclaimed independent it returned its name Gyumri.
The first Armenian opera performance was staged in Gyumri in 1912; eleven years later the first theatre hosted the first spectators. Being the center of arts and entertainment, Gyumri was and actually still is the capital of humor. Many great artists originated from this city of warmth and sunshine.
Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God is located in Gyumri. The church has been constructed in 1843-56. Initially the church was named The Holy Mother of God, but in people is known under the name of "The Seven Wounds".
On both sides of the altar are side-chapels from which spiral staircases conduct to the second floor and secret room above the altar.
The city has only recently started to revive parks and alleys. Modern Gyumri is neat and beautiful city, full of lights, shops, restaurants and cafes. New and well-organized micro-districts as well as comfortable hotels are built in the city. Though, whole streets and city blocks built in XIX century still preserved in Gyumri. They declared as quarters-reserves.