Gyumri Architectural Treasures

St.Astvatsatsin (St.Mary) Church

St. Astvatsatsin or Yot Verk (Seven Wounds) Holy Church is one of four houses of God presently serving in Gyumri (St. Nshan, St. Hakob Mtsbinetsi Churches and St. Hripsime Chapel). St. Astvatsatsin is situated in Vardanants Square, on the opposite side of the All Savior Church, destroyed by the earthquake of 1988. In XVII century there was a tiny chapel here, which afterwards, in 1837 was replaced by a dark stone church. Its two small domes were downcast during the earthquake. The believers did not allow to remove them, therefore new domes were erected. The church that carries the name of the Blessed Virgin Mariam is very often called “Seven Wounds” because of an icon that is kept in its right pricket. This marvelous icon of an unknown painter portrays the Blessed Virgin in pain from seven swords pierced into her heart. They symbolize those seven wounds, that the Blessed Virgin received during the life of her miraculous son Jesus Christ.

Aslamazyan Sisters Gallery

Mariam and Yeranuhi Aslamazyans are among prominent representatives of modern Armenian painting art. Born in Bash-Shirak village of Kars province, they spent their childhood in Gyumri, also receiving the basic painting education here. Living in Moscow Mariam Aslamazyan in 1987 on her 70th anniversary presented around 620 of her and sister’s original works to the native city. Those works that include paintings, graphics and ceramics were placed by the local authorities into this exquisite two-storied building. Constructed in 1880, “Aslamazyan Sisters Gallery” was rebuilt by the LINCY Foundation and reopened in 2004.

Hovhannes Shiraz Museum

It was founded in 1983 in this black & red mansion of late XIX century, situated in the middle of Varpetats Street. Though the poet had not lived in this house his spirit is felt in each exhibit and his personal items. After the earthquake of 1988 the memorial gave shelter to several families who lost their houses. The Museum was reopened in 2003.

Merkurov Painting School

This educational establishment has a notable contribution in the history of Armenian contemporary fine arts. To numerate the school prominent alumni means to recall the majority of modern famous painters and sculptors. We just recollect some of them: Khachatur Yesayan, Mariam and Yeranuhi Aslamazyans, Karapet Tiraturyan, Hakob Ananikyan, Artashes Hunanyan, Eduard Artsrunyan and many others. The school was founded in 1921, having such mentors as Gevorg Brutyan, Stepan Altunyan, Hmayak Avetisyan and
Yulya Verzhbitskaya. At first it was a studio and was meant to pave art pass for gifted kids. Years later, in 1936 this educational establishment firming its place and role in Armenian fine arts turned into a four-year painting school, later in 1947 was named after a Gyumri-born famed sculptor Sergey Merkurov. In 1988 this beautiful building that was a part of “Kumairi” architectural preserve and served as a Youth Center for years, now turned unsafe because of the subterranean tremors. Currently the classes are held in Children’s library after Hovhannes Tumanyan.

The article and pictures created by Levon Lachikyan

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