Shirak image

Gyumri is the capital of Shirak marz, in north-west Armenia, and is renowned for its tradition of crafts and skilled artisans, like award-winning blacksmith, Gagik Martirosyan. (Photo by Narek Harutyunyan, My Armenia Program)


Shirak marz is home to Gyumri, Armenia’s second city, long considered the cultural heart of Armenia. In 1988, Gyumri was devastated by a massive earthquake which resulted in such a loss of life and destruction of property that the city has still yet to fully recover. Shirak lies on a vast high plateau along the border with Turkey, under the shadow of Mount Aragats, the highest mountain in Armenia. The four peaks of Mount Aragats are a common symbol in poetry and paintings from Shirak and appear on the seal of the city of Gyumri.

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