Lori Region in Armenia
© Gerald Zinnecker all rights reserved
Administrative centre: Vanadzor
Distance from Yerevan to Vanadzor: 112 km
The marz of Lori is located in the northeast of Armenia and borders on Georgia. The marz is famous for its mild climate: the mountain chain Lori-Pambak stands on the way of cold winds from the north. Lori can also brag about the abundance of rivers – the Pambak, the Dzoraget, the Debet and the Agstev flow across that picturesque region rich in fertile lands, lakes and mineral springs. Evergreen trees and bushes grow in the river valleys; the slopes of the mountain ridges are covered by subalpine vegetation. Lori is the land of mountain ridges, stepped slopes, and deep gorges. There you will see Pushkin Pass where in 1828 on his way to Erzrum Alexander Pushkin saw how the body of Alexander Griboyedov, was transported to Tiflis.
The area's history is very interesting. Its rich cultural heritage has formed for dozens of centuries. There in the 10 th – 11 th centuries was the independent Armenian state – Lori kingdom. A part of the marz used to be the hereditary estate of Zakaryan dynasty. The marz is also known for rare samples of Byzantine architecture – Akhpat and Sanain monasteries built in the 10 th century and listed as the World's Heritage.
The marz's center is the city of Vanadzor – the third largest in Armenia after Yerevan and Gyumri. It is situated in a unique site – the intermountain depression between the Bazum and Pambak ridges at the confluence of three rivers – the Pambak, the Tandzut, Vanadzoriget.
There is no exact evidence of the city's age except for the fact that it stands on the site of ancient settlements which were a part of Great Armenia in the 2 nd century BC. It is assumed hat in the 13 th century the city was named Karaklis which is translated (from Turkic) as ‘black church”. Until 1828 the city had had the black church which was replaced by a new one in 1831. In 1801 Lori was annexed to Russia along with Georgia, and Karaklis became a frontier city. In 1820 the city's population was only 500-600 people who had moved from Yerevan. In 1830, after East Armenia became a part of Russia, several hundreds of Armenian families who had come from western Armenia - Kars, Ardagan, Bayazetm and Erzrum settled there.
From 1849 Karaklis was a part of Yerevan province. In the 1930s it was given the city status and in1935, after the death of Kirov, the city was renamed as Kirovakan. The name Vanadzor was given to the city in 1993. The convenient geographical position and abundance of mineral waters made the city famous as popular resort.
On December 7th, 1988 there was a terrible earthquake which caused a serious damage to the city, but thanks to the patience, hard work and love of the people the city was revived. Today's Vanadzor is a beautiful modern city with wide straight streets, magnificent buildings surrounded by green gardens. It is one of the major industrial and cultural centers of Armenia.