Visit Shirak famous for the locals who are gifted with a keen sense of humor. Also, enjoy the typical Armenian cuisine you will not find anywhere else in the world - Khash (boiled cow hooves) and Qjalla (beef or lamb brain cooked in tonir - an underground shaft).
The Shirak Province is located in the northwest of Armenia. The Shirak Province borders Turkey in the west, Georgia in the north, the Lori Province in the east and the Aragatsotn Province in the south.
Shirak is one of the coldest provinces of Armenia. It snows a lot in the winter, and the summers are cool. The province is generally at a higher altitude, with an average of 2000 meters above sea level. There are high mountains in Shirak, which are mostly bare.
The Major Cities and Towns
- Gyumri (previously known as Leninakan)
Gyumri has played a significant cultural role in the Soviet era of the history of Armenia. There are many medieval monuments, museums, theatres and schools in the city. The Gyumri theater is largely famous; many well-known actors, like Mher Mkrtchyan, started their career in the Gyumri theater and achieved renown. The natives of Gyumri will tell you anectodes; they like making jokes and telling funny stories in their peculiar Shirak dialect.
Waters in Shirak
- The Arpi lake-reservoir is located in the northern part of Shirak Province. The lake is unusually rich in different species of fish for its modest size and location. There is also the Arpi lake reservation in the south of the reservoir. In the vicinity of the reservoir, there are swamps.
- The Akhuryan river connects the Arpi lake-reservoir with the Akhuryan reservoir. It goes through marshes, villages and under medieval bridges.
- The Akhuryan Reservoir is at the border with Turkey.
How to Get to Shirak and What to See There
There are buses going to Gyumri from nearby Ayrarat Cinema in Yerevan. The trip lasts about 4 hours. The bus trip is long, but you will see a lot of Armenian nature with changes of scenery. And then from Gyumri you can take a local taxi to explore the province. You can also take a taxi from Yerevan to Gyumri. It will be about 10000 AMD and will take you shorter time.
- The Holy Savior Cathedral (in Gyumri)
- Russian Chapel Plplan Zham (in Gyumri)
- Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God (in Gyumri)
- Dzitoghtsyan House-Museum (in Gyumri)
- Lmbatavank (monastery)
- Harichavank (monastery)
- Marmarashen (monastery)
- Vahramaberd (fortress)
- Sev Berd (fortress)
Also, you can visit the waterfall at the river Akhuryan, the ruins of a medieval reservoir near the village Karnut, the Trhckan waterfall at the Trchkan River.
A Chance to See Great Ani
In the south of the Shirak Province, near to the village Norashen, it is possible to see through binoculars the wonderful Armenian medieval city Ani across the border with Turkey. Some of the cultural monuments in Shirak are the imitation of the churches and cathedrals of Ani.