Goris (established in 1870, and in 1885 was granted with the status of a town) is located 236 km south from the capital Yerevan, in the valley of river Vararakn. The town has an average elevation of 1,370 metres above sea level.
The total area of the town is 6km2. As of the January 1st 2017 census, the population of the town is 20390.
Production of electricity, food, textile, sewing, wood processing, wooden products and electrical equipment are developed in Goris.
During the Middle Ages, the town-settlement was a road junction, stretched from Nakhichevan, through Syunik to Artsakh. One of the routes of the Silk Road was passing near the city. Currently Yerevan-Stepanakert, Yerevan-Iran highways are passing through Goris.
There are 7 preschools, 7 public schools, 2 musical and sport schools, 1 art school, Goris State University, ASAU branch and non-state university “Syunik”.
Health care facilities include the hospital, 2 polyclinics, blood transfusion station, and the Medical Association “Diagnosis”.
Goris is a prominent cultural centre in Syunik. It has cultural palace, a public library and a drama theatre.
The eastern part of the city, on the left bank of the River Vararakn, is the locations of Old Goris – Kyores, with ancient cliff structures, cave dwellings and adjacent buildings on which the small fortress was ruled. The town of Goris was founded in 1870 to become the centre of Zangezursky Uyezd (Zangezur County), within the Elisabethpol Governorate of the Russian Empire.
In 1920-21, Goris was the Capital of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia, in 1930-95 – the administrative center of the same district. The hill Lasti khut is the symbol of the city, which is located in the eastern part of the city.
In the 19th century, Goris had a chessboard-shape architectural style, two-storied public buildings, where many commercial pavilions were located. The rest of the city’s public buildings are the workshops of traditional carpenters, metalworkers, and brewers. The stone-pyramids of Old Kyores located to the east of the modern town are one of the most attractive sites in Goris.
The old town is home to the 4th-century basilica of Surp Hripsimé. The basilica has been renovated during the 16th century. However it was closed during the Soviet period until its major renovation in 2010. Finally, it was reopened for the public in October 2013. The Armenian Church, St. Gregory the Illuminator of Syunik Diocese, is also located here.
The archaeological museum of Goris opened in 1948, and is dedicated to the rich history of the Syunik region. The house-museum of Axel Bakunts is operating in the town since 1970, while the Goris art gallery is operating since 2001. Other museums in the town include the geological museum of Goris “Zangezur”.
The city has a rich heritage in the music of Armenia and is a major center for traditional music instruments. It is the birthplace of famous musician Gusan Ashot.
Goris caves and pyramidal rocks have always attracted the attention of tourists. It is also the capital of Armenia’s traditional festivals. Goris is home to the annual Mulberry festival – taking place annually during the month of August.
In 1990-91, Azerbaijan’s rockets attacked the city and surrounding settlements.
Translated by Kristina Ghahramanyan