Shirak region, in the north-west of the Republic of Armenia, is distinguished by its active seismicity. It occupies 9.0% of the territory of the Republic of Armenia and covers the former administrative districts of Akhuryan, Amasia, Artik, Ani, Ashotsk. The capital city is Gyumri.
Area – 2.680km 2
Population – 239.3thousand (2017 census)
The region was reformed on the 12th of April 1995.
In the past, it was a part of Shirak canton of Ayrarat of Mets Haik.
In the years of the Armenian SSR, there were Akhuryan (from 1937 until 1945 – Dukkend), Amasia (from 1930), Artik (from 1930), Ani (from 1937 to 1961 – Aghini), Ashotsk (from 1937 to 1992) Ghukasyan districts.կազմում::
The province is part of the Shirak Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The seat of the Diocese is St. Astvatsatsin (“Seven Wounds”) Church of Gyumri. In 2012 with the patriarchal consecration, the church communities of Artik were separated from the diocese of Shirak and proclaimed as the new diocese of Artik.
It borders on Turkey (in the west), Georgia (in the north), Lori (in the east) and Aragatsotn (in the south). The territory of Georgia along the state border to the Shirak region is Armenian-populated.
The Shirak plain is in the central and southern part of the province and the Ashotsk plateau is in the northern part.Shirak region is situated on 1500-2000m altitude.
The highest peak is 4090 m (Aragats mountain), the lowest is 1400 m (near the village of Kharkiv, Akhuryan valley). The largest and the longest river in the Republic of Armenia is Akhuryan. Here are Ashotsk, Ghoghamarg, Ily, Karakhan, Gyumri and Karkachan rivers belonging to the Akhuryan system.
The region is rich in tuff, basalt, pumice, perlite and other materials. There are also coal, ash, zinc, chromium, burning shale deposits, mineral, and fragrant water reserves.
The region has a temperate mountainous climate, with abundant precipitation (700 mm), cool summers, harsh and long winters. January’s average temperature is -9.8 ̊C. It is the coldest region in Armenia, where the air temperature sometimes reaches -46 ° C in winter.
Due to the mountainous terrain, the natural conditions of the steppe zone are varied, so dry mountain steppe and prairie landscapes are formed here. The region is characterized by mountain steppe and meadow steppe vegetation. 1.64% of the area of the region is covered with forests.
The northern part of Shirak province is 8-9, and the center and south are seismic zones of 9 and higher. Gyumri, Spitak, Ani, Kars, Akhalkalaki are well-known earthquake epicenters in their territory. The last strong earthquake occurred in 1988, December 7.
There are 239.3 thousand or 8% of the population of the republic in Shirak. The density of the population is 91people/1km 2 . The urban population is 58.5% and rural is 45.6%. Men are 48.3% and women – 51.7%. The population of the region is dominated by 25-29-year-olds (8.2%).
Shirak’s population and ethnic composition have undergone major changes over the last few centuries. The Armenian population is decreasing. The population heavily suffered during the Turkish occupation of 1918 and 1920 when massacres of civilians were carried out by the invaders. Thousands of people were killed or emigrated in 1988 because of the earthquake.
Armenians form 98.6% of the population. There are also Russians (0.4%), Yezidis, Kurds, Ukrainians, other nations (1%).
Communities – Gyumri, Artik and Maralik
Rural communities – 76
Rural settlements – 128
Sightseeing in Shirak
Shirak province is one of the oldest settlements in the Armenian Highland.
About 2 349 historical and cultural monuments are registered in the region. Buildings within the Kumayri Reserve in Gyumri are also of historical and cultural importance.
Museum of Folk Architecture and Urban Life, M. Avetisyan’s House-Museum in Gajur, Gyumri’s Black Fortress Castle-Auditorium are the most important centers in Gyumri.
Famous historical and cultural centers of the region
Harom Fortress City (7th century BC)
Church of Karnut (IV century)
Lernakert Church (IV-V centuries)
Church of Jerouk (IV-V c.)
Church of Jrarat (VI century)
Pemzashen Monument (V-VI centuries)
Alexandropol Fortress (1838-1845)
Lmbatavank (VI century)
Harichavank (VII-X centuries)
Marmashen Monastery (X-XI centuries)
Fortress of Gusanagyugh
Economy and public life
Shirak is one of the most important agricultural regions of Armenia with the agricultural- industrial branch. Leading industries are the food industry, including beverages, textiles, manufacturing, and non-metallic products. 41.6% of the region’s population is engaged in agriculture. The region mainly cultivates cereals, vegetables, potatoes.
The main area of livestock breeding is the production of dairy and meat products. Milk processing companies operate in the region, the products of which are consumed in the markets of the republic and are exported. Beekeeping is also developed in the region.
The province has significant reserves of wind energy.
Historical and cultural monuments in the Shirak region have favorable conditions for tourism development. << Lake Arpi >> National Park is the best area for ecotourism.
Economically active residents of the province form 56.1% of the total population. The poverty rate is 46% of the province’s population.
There are 62 preschools, 170 general education institutions, 2 special schools, 6 state colleges, 5 vocational education institutions, 9 higher education institutions (6 state and 3 non-state), 27 music, art, and fine arts schools, youth creative centers, 41 sports organizations, including 1 sports college, 32 sports schools, 2 sports clubs, 4 branches of sports NGOs and foundations, and 2 sports departments of community centers.
A branch of the National Institute of Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia operates in Gyumri.
There are 173 cultural organizations, 71 libraries, 1 drama theater, 1 puppet theater, 1 cinema, 9 museums, 45 cultural centers/houses/, 2 galleries, 5 production centers, 5 orchestras.
Transport and communication
There are Yerevan-Gyumri-Georgia and the Gyumri-Turkey interstate highways, which are not operational due to the blockade. The South Caucasus Railway passes through the region. The regional railway is 180 km, which makes up 21.4% of the total railway of the republic.
The Yerevan-Tbilisi passenger train passes through Shirak, so does the Yerevan-Batumi passenger train during the summer period (June 15 -September 30). Currently, there is also a Gyumri-Yerevan train.
Shirak International Airport has been operating since 1961. It is the second-largest in the country. The airport is located 5 km from Gyumri and 120 km from Yerevan. Gyumri- Moscow-Gyumri flights have been operating since December 2016.
Haypost CJSC branches operate in 80 communities of the region, providing 100% coverage of the communities of the region. The area is also covered by digital TV programs. The programs of 8 state and 2 television stations are located in the region.
Amasia – 246
Refrigerator – 242
Maralik – 242
Panic – 244 92
Article – 244
Akhouryan – 312
Gyumri – 312
Postcodes– 2601 – 3030