Reasons why you should visit Shirak

Why Visit Shirak, Armenia?

Here we present our top tips of what you can see and do in Shirak and Gyumri, Armenia’s cultural Capital, the great City of Masters, with its wonderful architecture, museums, churches and old buildings to see and enjoy.

Looking for exciting things to do in Gyumri? Museums, attractions, favorite restaurants, the coolest exhibits and shows are on our portal right now. The city has great new restaurants and bars and there are more immersive experiences than you can count! This month, the city is dressing up for the holidays, pulling out its lights and decorations, and putting on festive shows. There’s nothing like the New Year Holidays in the city, so head out now!

Where to go in Shirak

Shirak has an incredible variety of places to visit from historic monasteries to monuments, and national parks to custom-build museums and galleries. Churches and monasteries, museums and nature reserves, gourmet tours and family-friendly experiences – these are just a few of the attractions waiting for you in Shirak.

What to see in Shirak

Shirak has become one of Armenia’s favorite destinations. One of the greatest pleasures of traveling to Shirak, is to visit its magnificent churches, museums, and  historical monuments. Head to unique museums, such as the Bread Museum, explore mystical pilgrimage sites, such as Zagha and Tsak Qar, but the most memorable impressions you will get by visiting the studios of talented artists, that are many in Shirak and Gyumri.

What to do in Shirak

When it comes to things to do, Shirak is an incredible place known for its arts and crafts, that’s why people travel from far to visit the art studios and art exhibitions around the region.

Traditionally, Gyumri has been famous for crafts and trade for many centuries, the were the most important part of Alexandropol’s (the old name of Gyumri) economy.
More than 100 trades flourished in Alexandropol: jewelry, blacksmithing, tailoring, embroidery, shoemaking, carpet weaving, spring making, copperworking, tinworking, masonry, watchmaking, wheelmaking, and more. Check out Gyumri’s souvenir shops to hunt for interesting pieces. Visit Gyumri’s wonderful museums: Gallery of Mariam and Eranuhi Aslamazyan Sisters, Hovhannes Shiraz, Avetik Isahakyan, Mher Mkrtchyan, Dzitoghtsyan Museum of National Architecture, to list a few. Museum of Illusions, Cobweb Art Gallery and some others are new additions to Gyumri’s many attractions.

Check out this link for more Shirak Experiences and pick the “arts and crafts” tour type

Other things to do: visit the city’s most iconic places for a photography tour, or visit Gyumri’s Antique Art Salon and hunt for icons, paintings, wall and wristwatches, furniture, porcelain, and old coins. This place is really charming. Owner and staff are very kind people. Visiting this antique shop is like visiting a museum with amazing exhibits from the past and from different cultures.

If you are an outdoor type, visit one of Shirak’s excellent nature sites, or go to Arpi Lake for hiking. Arpi Lake is one of Armenia’s four Protected National Parks. Visit one Shirak’s magnificent churches, like Marmashen, Harich or Yereruyk.

Popular day tour ideas

Joining a tour is an excellent way to explore Shirak – pick your transport, a theme or a length of time, and find your perfect break. On a guided tour you’ll benefit from the knowledge of expert guides, and on a self-guided tour you can take in the Region at your own pace. Here are our favorite picks: It’s a Wonderful World of Shirak, Ancient Wonders of Shirak, Gyumri Gourmet Tour, Amazing Yereruyk and many others.

Where to eat and drink in Shirak

There are so many great places to eat in Gyumri that it’s really hard to choose, particularly if you have come for one day only. There is practically a restaurant for each taste.

You might have heard of the traditional Shirak cuisine which is very diverse and delicious. The traditional cuisine of Shirak boasts soups, pilafs, sweets, the names of which often do not say anything before you taste it: pilaf with chortan, pilaf with jezes, dried tirit, turnip yayni, korkotapur, tail soup, tanov soup, harlapur, satri kufta, ghazan barbecue, tava kiftavasi omelette, omelet with dates, etc.

Whatever was possible to taste in the villages of Shirak, now is offered to the visitors in many restaurants and food outlets in Gyumri. Visit Basturma, Herbs & Honey, Cherkezi Dzor, Gwoog Gastrohouse and many others.

You can read more on some of the traditional dishes in Shirak here

Another great option is to join one of the many gastronomic tours listed on our website.

Check out this link for more Shirak Experiences and pick the “gastronomic tour” type.

Where to stay in Shirak

There is a big range of accommodations in Shirak – and particularly in Gyumri, including five-star hotels, such Grand Hotel Gyumri by Apricot and many luxury hotels, such as Villa Kars or Villa Kumayri, Berlin Art Hotel, etc. There are also very comfortable B&Bs, such as Hye Aspet.