Goris City (Armenia)

General Information

Administrative status

Town in the north-eastern part of the Syunik province, in the south of Armenia

Historic center - The old town

Historical function



Goris is a town in the north-eastern part of the Syunik province, in the south of Armenia. Goris is located on the intersection of Yerevan-Artsakh and Yerevan-Meghri-Iran interstate highways. Located in the valley of the river Goris (Vararakn) it is 235 km away from the Armenia capital Yerevan and 67 km from the regional center Kapan. The town has an average elevation of 1398 metres above sea level.

Urban Morphology

The most peculiar feature of Goris is the uniquely styled one-two storey houses, with stone fences and arched gates. Throughout its history Goris has accumulated a large number of cultural heritage monuments: worship and defence structures, administrative, private and public buildings. The most valuable part of it is the Old town and the historical core of current the town centre, where the unique architecture is harmoniously related to the surrounding natural and urban landscape. The late 19th and early 20th century constructions in the town are highly ranked among the most valuable urban development history objects in Armenia.

Historical Reference

  • The humankind settled in Goris since the Stone Age. Goris was first mentioned in the history by the Urartian period. King Rusa I (8th century B.C.) left a cuneiform, where he mentioned that among the 23 countries conquered by him, “”Goristsa”” country was one of them. The scientists suppose that it is the same Goris.
  • During the Middle Ages, the town-settlement was situated in the eastern part of the present Goris, on the left bank of Goris river. It was called old Goris and coincided with one of the villages of Goru and Goraik mentioned by Stepanos Orbelyan (13th century).
  • The current spelling of the name was first mentioned in 1624, in a handwriting by Barsegh Yerets. In 17-18th centuries princes Melik Husenyans ruled Goris. In the beginning of the 19th century, on 13 October 1813 according to the “”Gyulistan agreement””, Goris fell under the domination of Emperial Russia. In 1870, the modern-day town of Goris was founded to become the centre of Zangezour province within the Russian Empire. In 1876, the new town of Goris was founded near the Old Goris with the initiative of the head of “”Starastky province”” and recommendation of Prince Manuchar-Bek Melik Husenyan and the plan was designed by a German architect.  At the end of the 19th century the economical and cultural life of the town was rather improved.
  • After the fall of the First Republic of Armenia in 1920, the 2nd Pan-Zangezurian congress held in Tatev on 26 April 1921, announced the independence of the self-governing regions of Daralakyaz (Vayots Dzor), Zangezur, and Mountainous Artsakh, under the name of theRepublic of Mountainous Armenia (Lernahaystani Hanrapetutyun), with Goris as a de facto capital city.
  • The stone-pyramids of Old Kores located to the east of the modern town, is one of the most attractive sites in Goris. The old town is home to the 4th-century basilica of Surp Hripsimé. The basilica has been renovated during the 16th century. However it was closed during the Soviet period until its major renovation in 2010. Finally, it was reopened for the public in October 2013.