Gyumri is /was one of the oldest cities of the world and the second large city of Armenia.
We are sleeping on a field of “historical ruins” but only see some kind of destroyed buildings. So we try to figure out the historical part of them: With the earthquake in 2008 the city was almost completely destroyed. Around 38000 victims and still there are not rebuilt fields of ruins.
First in history of the two countries after 30 years the Turkey opened the border to Armenia for human help. The same happened now from Armenian side with the recent earthquake in south east of Turkey.
First we search for the Marmashen Church/Monastery that is kind of unusual placed in a valley and not as usual on a high site upon a hill. Also parts of this apricot colored Monastery complex was destroyed with the earthquake.
Gyumri is in general rebuild and a nice city. An Armenian singer, now a National hero, was one of the donors who spent a lot of money for the rebuilding of the city.
The Gyumri Shuka, the busy open air market is filled with people doing their grocery for eastern. Special eastern bread, red eggs in lens gras and fish is part of the eastern tradition in Armenia. Churches are decorated with trees and flowers.
Sure we visit the “Mother of Armenia” statue and the Black fortress. The statue was a Stalin monument in Sovjet area. Now it means “victory” when you look at it from out the Armenian side and an “attacking dragon” when you look at it from Turkey and Georgia side.