Gyumri has been placed on the map of our target locations for tourism and urban development programs due to its strategic geographic location, access to the international airport, railroad and main highways, rich cultural heritage and touristic attractiveness, booming IT and high-tech industry, and many other reasons.
In 2018, IDeA came up with a new initiative for the restoration and redevelopment of the Friendship
Park in Gyumri. This project reflects IDeA’s commitment to empower the local community, foster social
and economic change and contribute to the sustainable future of Gyumri and future generations. It is a
unique project, which provides a blend of commercial, social and philanthropic components while
building on Private- Public Partnerships.
The multi-year feasibility study revealed that, since 1988, the city has become divided into unconnected zones. We believe that the development of the park in the area will create a link between the historic center, the industrial and residential zones of the city. This notion becomes more feasible, considering that the area neighboring the park is one of the most active residential and industrial zones in the city. With its central location, the area is rich in diverse visitor flows, such as residents, university/college students, school kids and hospital visitors.
In order to design a park that will most effectively serve the community, discussions were held with a wide range of community members. As a result of those discussions, the key needs of the city and then the components of the park were mapped. Based on these discussions, as well as the extensive research that was undertaken, were designed main components of the park.
In its current design, the park occupies 7.2 hectares and combines components of three focus areas:
The park will generate a socio-economic impact throughout its lifecycle, starting from temporary job creation and investment in the economy during the construction, continuing with permanent local job creation, support to local business creation and expansion, as well as contributing to the local economy during park operations through increased tourism.
In the Middle Ages, Ani was an important capital city, a place where the world trade routes connecting the West with the East and the North with the South crossed. It was one of the focal points of the Armenian world, and its fall in 1045 marked the beginning of the loss of Armenia’s own statehood, a stage which continued for many centuries. The idea of creating a modern observation deck, which offers a breathtaking view of the medieval Armenian capital Ani, the city of “forty gates and a thousand and one churches”, destroyed by earthquakes and conquerors, is aimed to be brought to life.
Just a short distance from modern Armenia’s capital Yerevan and its second largest city Gyumri, its location between these two cities makes the observation deck easily accessible. The unique architectural appearance of Armenian churches – masterpieces of medieval architecture – for which Ani was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016, will become a wonderful new tourist attraction, attracting travelers from all corners of the globe.
The project has already drew attention of several international organizations, and it is planned to implement the project in cooperation with these potential stakeholders. The project involves the creation of an observation deck and associated infrastructure: an access road, car parking, cafes, a park and other facilities.
The project is currently in the earliest concept stage with the involvement of partners. It will fit well into the new ecosystem being created for the benefit of the Armenian world.
Gyumri Project Hope (GPH) Foundation was founded in September 2015 by The Kololian Foundation. The goal of GPH was to conduct a feasibility study of Gyumri and propose a practical plan of urban renewal based on best international practices. GPH was supported by The Kololian Family, IDeA Foundation, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and Armenian Relief Society.
In 2016 GPH published its “Strategic redevelopment of Gyumri” report. The intent of the document was foremost to analyze and assess existing challenges and opportunities for the city of Gyumri. This document then aimed to offer solutions for target development through projects that address economic growth through tourism, urban renewal, and cultural development.
The study brought a visible change and resulted in “Kumayri revival” program supported by the Government of Armenia in 2017. By consolidating efforts GPH was able to attract the attention of the Government, key international financial institutions and international development organizations to investing in the city. Since February 2017 several streets in Kumayri district were restored, while historic properties received proper attention of many private investors.
Through 3 years of extensive study GPH collected information on all the preserved buildings in historic center of the city, proposed methods for their preservation and reuse by releasing “Historic preservation guidelines” and as a result also published zoning and master plan documents for part of the Kumayri historic center based on best international practices.