Coordinates: 39°30′28″N 46°20′19″E / 39.50778°N 46.33861°E / 39.50778; 46.33861
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From top left: Downtown Goris • Goris gate Zangezur Mountains around Goris Bell Monument • Settlement of old Kores Grigor Tatevatsi statue Surp Hripsimé Basilica • Saint Gregory Cathedral
From top left:
Downtown Goris • Goris gate
Zangezur Mountains around Goris
Bell Monument • Settlement of old Kores
Grigor Tatevatsi statue
Surp Hripsimé Basilica • Saint Gregory Cathedral
Goris is located in Armenia
Goris is located in Syunik Province
Coordinates: 39°30′28″N 46°20′19″E / 39.50778°N 46.33861°E / 39.50778; 46.33861
Country Armenia
 • MayorArush Arushanyan
 • Total8 km2 (3 sq mi)
1,250−1,520 m (−3,740 ft)
 • Total20,591
 • Density2,600/km2 (6,700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+4 (AMT)
Area code+374(284)
WebsiteOfficial website

Goris (Armenian: Գորիս [ɡɔˈɾis]) is a town and the centre of the urban community of Goris, in Syunik Province at the south of Armenia. Located in the valley of the Goris (or Vararak) River, it is 254 km from the Armenian capital Yerevan and 67 km from the provincial capital Kapan.[2] Goris is the second-largest city in Syunik in terms of population. During the 2011 census, it had a population of 20,591, down from 23,261 reported in the 2001 census.[3] However, as per the 2016 official estimate, the population of Goris was 20,300.[4] Goris is the seat of the Diocese of Syunik of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Goris is considered one of the most important historical and cultural sites of Armenia. It is often regarded as the cultural center of Syunik. Because of this, it is a favored tourist destination for both local and foreign travelers and has a large number of hotels and inns.[2]

Following the administrative reforms in 2016, the community of Goris was enlarged to include the surrounding villages of Akner, Bardzravan, Hartashen, Karahunj, Khndzoresk, Nerkin Khndzoresk, Shurnukh, Verishen, and Vorotan.[5]


Throughout its history, Goris has been known as Kores and Gorayk. However, there are several explanations for the origin of the name. It is supposed that the name Goris is derived from the Indo-European prelanguage words "gor" (rock), "es" (to be), i.e. Goris/Kores meaning a rocky place. There was a dwelling in the ancient times in the same area of the town.[6]

The name Goris had many variants including: Goristsa, Kores, Gores, Gorayk, Goru, and Geryusy.[6]


Ancient history and Middle Ages[edit]

The settlement of old Kores

The area of Goris has been settled since the Stone Age.[2] Goris is likely first mentioned by name in the Urartian period. King Rusa I of Urartu, who reigned between 735 and 713 BC, left a cuneiform inscription where Guria or Goriaya is mentioned as one of the 23 countries conquered by him, which some scholars connect with Goris.[6]

During the Middle Ages, the settlement was situated in the eastern part of the present Goris, on the left bank of Goris river. It was called Kores and coincided with one of the villages of Goru and Gorayk mentioned by Stephen Orbelian in his 13th-century work History of the Province of Syunik.[6][7]

Between the 12th and 15th centuries, Syunik along with the rest of the historic territories of Armenia suffered greatly from the Seljuk, Mongol, Aq Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu invasions.[8]

Persian rule[edit]

Melik’s Church in Goris

At the beginning of the 16th century, Syunik became part of the Erivan Province within the Safavid Persia. The current spelling of the name was first mentioned in 1624, in a manuscript by a certain Barsegh Yerets.[6] In the 17–18th centuries the princes Melik Husenyans ruled the region around Goris.[7]

At the beginning of the 18th century, the region was the centre of the Armenian liberation campaign led by David Bek against Safavid Persia and the invading Ottoman Turks. In 1750, the region became part of the newly formed Karabakh Khanate.[9]

At the beginning of the 19th century, many territories of Armenia, including the region of old Kores of Syunik, became part of the Russian Empire as a result of the Treaty of Gulistan signed on 24 October 1813 between Russia and Qajar Iran following the Russo-Persian War of 1804–13.

Russian rule[edit]

The city of Old Goris before 1898

Under Russian rule, the town of Goris (then called Gerusy) was founded in 1870 to become the centre of Zangezur uezd within the Elizavetpol Governorate of the Russian Empire.[6][7] In 1876, by the initiative of the uezd governor Staratsky, the recommendation of Prince Manuchar-Bek Melik Huseinyan and using a city plan designed by a German architect, the construction of new Goris was completed near the old town of Kores.[2][10] By the end of the 19th century, the economic and cultural life of the town had greatly improved.[how?]

Brief independence (1918–1921)[edit]

A 19th-century building in Goris

With the establishment of the Republic of Armenia in 1918, Goris was included within the Zangezur gavar ("district"). However, after the fall of the First Republic of Armenia in 1920, the 2nd Pan-Zangezurian congress held in Tatev on 26 April 1921 declared the independence of the self-governing regions of Daralayaz (modern-day Vayots Dzor Province), Zangezur, and parts of Nagorno-Karabakh under the name of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia (Lernahaystani Hanrapetutyun), with Goris as its de facto capital city.[11] However, the self-proclaimed republic had a short life. The Red Army conducted massive military operations in the region during June–July 1921, attacking Syunik from the north and east. As a result of fierce battles, the Republic of Mountainous Armenia capitulated on 13 July 1921, following Soviet Russia's promises to keep the mountainous region of Zangezur as part of Soviet Armenia.[12]

Soviet rule[edit]

Under Soviet rule, Goris served as the regional centre of the Zangezur region of Soviet Armenia. With the establishment of the Goris raion in 1930, the town became the regional centre of the newly founded district.[13]

During the 1950s, the economy of the city was boosted with the construction of many hydroelectric power plants in the area. Several new industrial firms were opened, and many modern residential districts were founded.

In 1967, Goris State Institute of Pedagogy was opened as a branch of the Armenian State Pedagogical University based in Yerevan. In 1970, Goris was granted the status of a "city of republican subordination" of the Armenian SSR.


Goris in 2014

After the independence of Armenia, Goris was included within the newly formed Syunik Province as per the 1995 administrative reform.

In 2006, the Goris State Institute of Pedagogy was restructured and turned into Goris State University to become the largest educational institute of Syunik.

As a result of community mergers in 2016, the municipality of Goris was enlarged to include 9 of its nearby villages.

In September 2022, Goris as well as several other Armenian towns, including Vardenis (Gegharkunik Province), Jermuk (Vayots Dzor Province) and Sotk (Gegharkunik), came under attack by Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Many residential houses were damaged as a result of the shelling; people were displaced from their homes.[14][15]

Geography and climate[edit]

Goris surrounded with the Zangezur Mountains

Goris is situated in the valley of Goris River, also known as Vararak River. The valley is surrounded with the Zangezur Mountains. The town has an average elevation of 1,385 metres above sea level. The surrounding mountains are famous for their medieval cave-dwellings carved out of the soft rock in the southern and eastern parts of the town. The Goris Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at the southeast of the town at a height ranging between 1400 and 2800 meters above sea level, covering an area of 18.5 km2. Caucasian grouse, roe deer and brown bear are among the notable animals in the sanctuary.

Located in a temperate and mild highland climate zone, the weather of Goris is characterized with mild snowy winters and hot summers. The average temperature in January is –1.3 °C and +19 °C in July. The annual precipitation level is between 500 and 600 mm.[2]

Climate data for Goris
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) −7.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 31
Source: plusninety.ru[16]


The prelacy building of the Diocese of Syunik, Goris


Currently, the residents of Goris are entirely Armenians. However, the population suffered gradual decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By the end of the 19th century, 74.6% of the population in Goris were ethnic Armenians as per the 1897 census. The figure grew after the Sovietization of Armenia to reach up to 98.1% in the 1926 census.

According to the 1917 publication of the Caucasian Calendar, Goris in 1916 had a population of 2,201, including 1,724 Armenians (78.3%), 202 Shia Muslims (9.2%), and 196 Russians (8.9%).[17]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [18][19]


The Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator in Goris is the seat of the Diocese of Syunik of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It was constructed between 1897 and 1904. After being consecrated by Catholicos Mkrtich Khrimian in 1903, the church was officially opened in 1904. In February 1921, the Saint Gregory Cathedral of Goris was the location where Garegin Nzhdeh was announced as the Sparapet (commander) of the Armenian forces of the forthcoming Republic of Mountainous Armenia in a solemn ceremony. The church building served as a regional history museum during Soviet times.


House-museum of Axel Bakunts
19th century carpet from Goris

The stone pyramids of Old Kores located to the east of the modern town are one of the most attractive sites in Goris. The old town is home to the 4th-century basilica of Saint Hripsime.[20] The basilica was renovated during the 16th century. However it was closed during the Soviet period. It underwent major renovation in 2010 and was reopened to the public in October 2013.[21]

Goris is a prominent cultural centre in Syunik. It has a cultural palace, a public library and a dramatic theatre.

The archaeological museum of Goris opened in 1948 is dedicated to the rich history of the Syunik region. The house-museum of writer Axel Bakunts has been operating in the town since 1970, while the Goris art gallery has been operating since 2001. Other museums in the town include the geological museum of Goris and the Local Lore Museum of Goris.[22]

Goris has a rich heritage in the music of Armenia and is a major centre for traditional musical instruments. It is the birthplace of the famous musician Gusan Ashot.[23]

The city of Goris is known for its carpets and has long had a rich carpet weaving culture. Goris and its surrounding villages are regarded as the centre of the Zangezur sub-group of the Armenian carpet.[24][2]

Goris is home to an annual mulberry festival which during the month of August.[25]


The landscape as seen from the M-2 Motorway between Goris and Shaki
Entrance to the city from highway M-12

The M-2 Highway that connects the capital Yerevan with southern Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic passes through Goris. Since November 2021, the Goris-Kapan road that connects the town with Kapan and at some points crosses the de facto Armenia-Azerbaijan border has not been in use due to the establishment of Azerbaijani border controls on the road, with an alternative route going through Tatev being used instead.[26]

The Goris Airport, is located 10 kilometers south of Goris, near the village of Khot. It has been closed since the collapse of the USSR in 1991. However, the Armenian government plans on reconstructing the airport and opening it to public and private service by 2016.[27] According to the central government, it is envisaged to operate starting from 2016. The airport will allow tourists to visit the Syunik region and Zangezur Mountains as well as the Tatev monastery and other summer resorts around the town.


Old Kores

Being home to many food-processing plants, the economy of Goris is mainly based on light industry. The town's home-made fruit vodkas are particularly good and famous.[2]

Goris is home to the Vorotan Hydropower Plant (opened in 1989), one of the main providers of electrical power in Armenia. Other large industrial firms in Goris include the road construction company Vosmar LLC (founded in 2002), the electronic device producer Goris Gamma (founded in 2003), and the Goris Group bottled spring water company (founded in 2005).


Goris is an important educational centre in Syunik. It has 7 secondary schools, 2 intermediate colleges, 7 kindergartens, 2 sports schools, 2 music schools and 1 art school.

Goris State University has been operating in the town since 1967. Branches of the State Engineering University of Armenia and Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography also operate in the town.

Goris is also home to the Goris Kh. Yeritsyan State Agricultural College.


Goris City Stadium

Football, chess, boxing, artistic gymnastics, volleyball and basketball are among the most practiced sports in Goris. The sports sector in the town is served by the Goris Children's and Youth Sports School (opened in 1951), the Goris Regional Children's and Youth Sports School (opened in 2006), and the Albert Ordyan Chess School.

Zangezour Football Club represented the town in professional competitions from 1982 to 1997, when they were forced to quit due to financial difficulties. They played their home games at Goris City Stadium, winning first place in the Armenian First League (2nd division) on 2 occasions.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2011 Armenia census, Syunik Province" (PDF). National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g UNECE (2019). Smart Sustainable City Profile for Goris, Armenia. New York and Geneva: United Nations. ISBN 9789210451598.
  3. ^ Report of the results of the 2001 Armenian Census, Statistical Committee of Armenia
  4. ^ "Population estimate of Armenia as of 01.01.2016" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Նախատեսվում է իրականացնել համայնքների խոշորացման 14 պիլոտային ծրագիր - ԳՈՐԻՍԻ ՄԱՄՈՒԼԻ ԱԿՈՒՄԲ". gorispress.am.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hakhverdyan, Sergey (2008). "Goris teghanvan stugabanutʻyan hartsʻi shurj" [Some Issues about the Etymology and the Mentions of the Name of Goris]. Lezu Ev Lezvabanutʻyun = Language and Linguistics. Yerevan: NAS RA: Tatev scientific and educational complex. 1: 47–51. ISSN 1829-0183 – via Pan-Armenian Digital Library.
  7. ^ a b c "Goris City, Armenia". ovpm.org. Organization of World Heritage Cities.
  8. ^ Petrushevsky, Ilya (1949). Очерки по истории феодальных отношений в Азербайджане и Армении в XVI-начале XIX вв [Essays on the history of feudal relations in Azerbaijan and Armenia in the 16th-early 19th centuries] (PDF). Publishing house of Leningrad State University. p. 35. OCLC 29734923.
  9. ^ Dum-Tragut, Jasmine (2018). Winkler, Dietmar W. (ed.). Syunik from the 17th century until Soviet Period. pp. 107–108. ISBN 9783643910660. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  10. ^ "Syunik.am - Goris". Archived from the original on 2014-04-28.
  11. ^ Armtown.com - ԼԵՌՆԱՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԻ 85-ԱՄՅԱԿԸ ՆՇԵՑԻՆ ՄԻԱՅՆ ՍՅՈՒՆԻՔԻ ՄԱՐԶԿԵՆՏՐՈՆՈՒՄ Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Panossian, Razmik (2006). The Independent Republic and Sovietisation. p. 259. ISBN 9780231139267. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  13. ^ Schmidt, Otto, ed. (1930). "Горис" [Goris]. Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1 ed.). Moscow. pp. 711–712. OCLC 14476314.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  14. ^ "PanARMENIAN.Net - Mobile". panarmenian.net.
  15. ^ "Ադրբեջանական հարձակման հետևանքով առնվազն 2570 անձ տեղահանվել է. ՄԻՊ". www.1lurer.am. 14 September 2022.
  16. ^ "armeniaguide: Goris, Armenia". plusninety. Archived from the original on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
  17. ^ Кавказский календарь на 1917 год [Caucasian calendar for 1917] (in Russian) (72nd ed.). Tiflis: Tipografiya kantselyarii Ye.I.V. na Kavkaze, kazenny dom. 1917. pp. 190–197. Archived from the original on 4 November 2021.
  18. ^ Հայաստանի Հանրապետության բնակավայրերի բառարան [Republic of Armenia settlements dictionary] (PDF) (in Armenian). Yerevan: Cadastre Committee of the Republic of Armenia. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2018.
  19. ^ Кавказский календарь на 1917 год [Caucasian calendar for 1917] (in Russian) (72nd ed.). Tiflis: Tipografiya kantselyarii Ye.I.V. na Kavkaze, kazenny dom. 1917. Archived from the original on 4 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Հին Գորիսում վերականգնված Սուրբ Հռիփսիմե եկեղեցին կվերաօծվի".
  21. ^ "Վերաօծվեց Գորիսի Սբ Հռիփսիմե եկեղեցին - Syunacerkir.am". www.syuniacyerkir.am.
  22. ^ "Գորիս. Ակսել Բակունցի տուն-թանգարանը նորացված ցուցադրությամբ - ԳՈՐԻՍԻ ՄԱՄՈՒԼԻ ԱԿՈՒՄԲ". gorispress.am.
  23. ^ "Gusan Ashot". gusanashot.com.
  24. ^ Karimov, Latif (1984). Rugs & Carpets from the Caucasus: The Russian Collections. Penguin Books. p. 79. ISBN 9780140063707.
  25. ^ Tours, Barev Armenia. "Թթի փառատոն Գորիսում - Բարև Արմենիա Տուր". barevarmenia.com.
  26. ^ ռ/կ, Ազատություն (2021-11-15). "Armenians Barred From Another Azeri-Controlled Road". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» Ռադիոկայան. Retrieved 2022-04-20.
  27. ^ "Waiting rooms and cafes to be constructed at stations of Tatev aerial tramway".

External links[edit]