GYUMRI—The city of Gyumri is gifted with rich historical and cultural monuments. During centuries, a unique architectural style has been formed in Gyumri with more than 1,600 historical-architectural buildings covering an area of about 220 hectares (543 acres). Most of them were built in the same period – the 19th and beginning of 20th centuries. However, during recent years the city’s historical and cultural heritage has suffered due to the devastating 1988 earthquake and insufficient funding and investment from the public and private sectors. This, in its turn, has hindered community development and investment flows to the second largest city of Armenia.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Armenia and the Armenian Ministry of Culture, with the financial support of the Government of Italy, have initiated a project aimed at regenerating the urban environment in the city of Gyumri, with the hopes of making it a more attractive place to live, visit, and work, contributing to its socio-economic revival. As part of the project, one of Gyumri’s historical buildings – constructed in 1860-1913 and considered a constituent part of the history and architecture of the city – was renovated to serve as a public library for the residents of the city.
In addition, the project has so far employed about fifty skilled and semi-skilled workers, providing relevant on-job training.
On Monday, Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, Hasmik Poghosyan, Armenia’s Minister of Culture, and Bruno Scapini, Ambassador of Italy to Armenia, visited the city of Gyumri to inaugurate the renovated building. The governor of Shirak province, Felix Tsolakyan, and Mayor of Gyumri Samvel Balasanyan also took part in the inauguration ceremony.
“UNDP and its partners are convinced that targeted intervention will help preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the city, enhancing tourism opportunities and aiding socio-economic development in Gyumri. The improved image of the city will contribute to making it a more attractive place to live, work, and invest,” said Bradley Busetto.