MARMASHEN MONASTERY The monastic complex of Marmashen, which is also known as Marmarashen Vank is situated on a picturesque shelf facing the left bank of the Akhuryan River surrounded by fruitful trees, a stream and a nice waterfall. According to a version the name of the complex means “a marble building”, even though there is no marble used in the construction of the complex. In this case the “marble building” may be attributed to the fact that it was constructed with the highest quality. Before the Turkish invasion, the monastic complex of Marmashen was circled with village houses. The roundabouts of the territory was once bleak and free of any type of vegetation, but now the monastic complex is surrounded by dense orchards of apple trees. The complex of Marmashen includes The Katoghike church, St. Astvatsatsin church, St. Petros Chapel, and the ruined Chapel. The Katoghike Church is the biggest in the complex. The church has an umbrella shaped cupola. The cupola makes a dramatically beautiful decorative effect. Huge stones, some of which reach up to two meters high, have been used in the construction of the church. HARICHAVANK MONASTERY The Monastery of Harichavank is situated in the village of Harich in the Shirak Province. The precise date of the foundation of the Monastery is not known exactly. But archeological excavations have shown that the Monastery of Harichavank was built in the 2nd century BC and was once well known fortress town. The Monastery embraces the churches of St. Grigor Lusavorich (Gregory the Enlightener) and St. Astvatsatsin (The Holy Mother of God), as well as two gavits and several chapels, all of them constructed during different periods. The territory of the Monastery is surrounded by walls. This famous monastic center was once well known school and scriptorium. The church was originally built as a martyr’s shrine. The place later became a summer residence for the Catholicos. The construction of the St. Grigor Lusavorich is attributed to the 7th century. The inscriptions on the church of St. Astvatsatsin witness that it was built in 1201 AD by the Prince Zakare Zakarean. GYUMRI – CITY OF HUMOR Gyumri was once the most pleasant, vivid and wonderful city of Armenia. It was also an education and art center for all Armenians around the world. The first Armenian opera performance was staged in Gyumri in 1912; eleven years later the first theatre hosted the first spectators. Being the center of arts and entertainment, Gyumri was and actually still is the capital of humor. Many great artists originated from this city of warmth and sunshine. No matter how sad you may be, bugged with troubles in your everyday life, the humorous people of this wonderful city will keep your mood high and will smile throughout your entire trip in their city. The people in Gyumri are especially vigorous. Many misfortunes and disasters are hidden behind their happy faces. The last one was the devastating earthquake in December 1988, leaving people with ruins and pain. But despite all misfortunes Gyumri people have never lost hope and their cheerful spirit. Gyumri is one of the oldest localities in Armenia. It had different names during the history: Kumayri, Gyumri, Alexandrapol, Leninakan and finally again Gyumri. As an old town and an important center of art, it has many cultural buildings of unique architectural style. Unfortunately many of them have been drastically damaged during the earthquake. The historical district called Kumayri, boasts of one thousand of 18-19th century constructions, which have survived two major earthquakes. The streets of this interesting and gentle city give an opportunity to walk with easy steps and feel the pride and the generous heart of the city, even though the majority of the damaged buildings have not yet been reconstructed fully.