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Shirak





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Shirak Marz, the Northwest corner of Armenia, is defined by the upper flow of the Akhurian river, the NW corner of Mt. Aragats, the Georgian border, and a series of mountains dominated by the 3000 m Mt. Urasar in the East. In spring the rolling treeless hills and rocky outcrops are quietly beautiful. The capital city of Gyumri (Aleksandrapol/Leninakan), since the 1988 the focus of international humanitarian assistance, has undergone massive post-quakerebuilding, still having further to go, but is rich in archaeological interest for the specialist. There are many architecturally important churches, such as in Artik, Ani-Pemza, Maralik, and Harich. Marmashen, NW of Gyumri, is a particularly interesting monastic complex. Shirak is known as the homeland of khash. It is as much semi-desert as it is mountain meadow or high alpine. In the south, the high steppes crash into mountain terrain, verdant green in the spring, hues of reddish brown in the summer. Shirak is served by Shirak International Airport near Gyumri.

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