When I received an electronic version of Yerevan magazine with the headline Exams of Gyumri I could not have imagined my surprise. When I started to read the package article by Ruben Gyulmisaryan, whose great grandfather used to live on Aleksandrovskaya street, I felt like I had been transported back to my grandparents house on that very same road. The author describes the street with such tender love for the city that even a stranger could understand it. There is really some fairytale aura on that street and it has not faded over the past 170 years. Now, despite the changes that have happened, both residents of Gyumri and its visitors can still feel the city’s inherent charm.
This is a quiet and uncrowded city. It is polite and laconic when there is not much to be said. However, once touched upon the right strings, it turns into a magical sight of wit, colors and unique old-fashioned charm. It is not a tall city – no skyscrapers have been built here after the earthquake of 1988. Nevertheless, Gyumri has preserved its almost untouched old city center – the vast segment of the history of Armenia…
Things were different here many years ago. Adolescent memories carry the image of an ordinary provincial Soviet city: sleeping quarters and a couple of nice old buildings. However, I am shocked– how could one overlook that practically the entire center of Gyumri consisted of 200- to 300-year-old houses. Was it really possible that the standardized panel skyscrapers were able to kill the perception of any city, even as old as this one? I’ve decided to find my great grandfather’s house. To do so, I first have to find the street that 70 years ago was known as Aleksandrovskaya.