Lori Province

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Coat of arms of Lori
Coat of arms
Location of Lori within Armenia
Location of Lori within Armenia
Coordinates: 40°55′N 44°30′E / 40.917°N 44.500°E / 40.917; 44.500Coordinates: 40°55′N 44°30′E / 40.917°N 44.500°E / 40.917; 44.500
Country Armenia
and largest city
 • Governor Artur Nalbandyan
 • Total 3,799 km2 (1,467 sq mi)
Area rank 3rd
Population (2011)
 • Total 235,537[1]
 • Rank 6th
Time zone UTC+04
Postal code 1701–2117
ISO 3166 code AM.LO
FIPS 10-4 AM06
Website official website

Lori (Armenian: Լոռի, Armenian pronunciation: [lɔˈri]), is a province (marz) of Armenia. It is located in the north of the country, bordering Georgia. Vanadzor is the capital and largest city of the province. Other important towns include Stepanavan, Alaverdi and Spitak. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries and the well-preserved Akhtala monastery, where Armenians, Georgians, and Greeks make an annual pilgrimage on September 20–21.[2]

The province was heavily damaged during the 1988 Armenian earthquake.

The province is served by the Stepanavan Airport.


The name Lori (Լոռի, known as Loré ლორე in Georgian) first appeared in the 11th century when King David I Anhoghin founded the fortified city of Lori (Loré).[3] The fortress-city became the capital of the Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget in 1065. The name Lori later spread through the region and replaced the original name of Tashir.[4]


Pambak mountains and Dsegh village

Situated at the north of modern-day Armenia, Lori covers an area of 3,789 km² (12.7% of total area of Armenia). It is bordered by Tavush Province from the east, Kotayk Province from the southeast, Aragatsotn Province from the southwest and Shirak Province from the west. The province is bordered by the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia.

Historically, the current territory of the province mainly occupies the Tashir and Boghnopor cantons of Gugark province of Ancient Armenia

Lori is a mountainous region, dominated by the ranges of Javakheti, Bazum, Pambak, Gugark, Halab and Somkheti. The highets point of the province is Mount Achkasar of the Javakheti range with a height of 3196 meters. The lowest point is 380 meters in the valley of Debed at the northeast of the province.[5]

The main water resource of the province is the Debed river with its tributaries Dzoraget, Pambak and Martsaget.

The climate is characterized with extremely cold snowy winters and mild summers. The annual precipitation level is between 600 and 700 mm.


The 7th-century Saint Gregory Church of Dsegh

Most of the territories of modern-day Lori was known as Tashir in the ancient history of Armenia.[6] Until the 5th century, Tashir was one of the cantons of Gugark province of Ancient Armenia.[7][4]Between the 5th and 9th centuries, Tashir was ruled by the invading Persians and Arabs respectively until 885, when it became part of the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Later in 979, King Kiurike I founded the Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget under the rule of the Kiurikian dynasty and the protectorate of the Bagratid kings of Armenia. The capital of the kingdom was Matsnaberd (until 1065) and the Lori fortress. The Kiurikians ruled the kingdom until 1118 when Tashir-Dzoraget became part of the Kingdom of Georgia.

Lori, the capital of the Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget

The Seljuks invaded the region in the early 12th century, but their rule did not last long and in 1118-1122 the Georgian king David the Builder conquered Lori and granted the rule to the Georgian-Armenian Orbelian Dynasty. The Orbelians revolted unsuccessfully in 1177, after which a Kipchak named Khubasari was appointed spasalari of Lori. Later in 1185, the province became ruled by the Zakarian dynasty after Queen Tamar of Georgia appointed the Zakarid prince Sarkis as its governor.[4]

Between 11th and 13th centuries, the monasteries of Haghpat, Sanahin, Kobayr and Bardzrakash in Dsegh served as centers of Armenian culture, theology and science. Scholars such as Hovhannes Imastaser, Grigor Tuteordi, Davit Kobayretsi, Grigor Magistros worked in these monasteries.[4] The region was devastated by the Mongol invasion of 1236, and the Zakarian dynasty declined by the 14th century.[4]

Lori was annexed by Safavid Persia in accordance to the 1555 Peace of Amasya and became part of Persia's Kartli-Kakheti province. After Nader Shah's murder in 1747, the Georgian kingdoms of Kartli and Kakheti became independent and united into a single kingdom by 1762.[8] In 1801, together with Georgian provinces of Kartli and Kakheti, Lori was annexed by the Russian Empire.[4] The region became officially part of the Russian Empire at the Treaty of Gulistan signed on 1 January 1813 between Imperial Russia and Qajar Persia.

In 1850, Lori was incorporated into the Erivan Governorate. In 1862, it was transferred into the jurisdiction of the Tiflis Governorate. In 1880, Lori became part of the Borchali okrug of the Tiflis Governorate. In the early 20th century, Lori was mostly Armenian-populated with several Russian and Greek villages.[4]

Karakilisa in 1920

In May 1918, the Ottoman Turkish forces moved towards Yerevan and Karakilisa (now Vanadzor). On 25 May 1918, the Armenians led by Garegin Nzhdeh fought against the Turkish forces led by Wehib Pasha, at the vicinity of Karakilisa. On 28 May 1918, the Turks retreated from Karakalisa, Abaran and Sardarabad, paving way towards the declaration of the Republic of Armenia on the same day.

In late 1918, Armenia and Georgia fought a border war over Lori. It was put under a British control as a neutral zone. Following Armenia's sovietization in late 1920, Lori was incorporated into Soviet Armenia.[4]

During the Soviet period, modern-day Lori was divided into the raions of Kalinino, Alaverdi, Kirovakan, Aragats, Spitak and Stepanavan. After the independence of Armenia, the 6 raions were merged during the 1995 administrative reform, to form the Lori Province.


According to the 2011 official census, Lori has a population of 235,537 (111,675 men and 123,862 women), forming around 7.8% of the entire population of Armenia. The urban population is 137,784 (58.5%) and the rural is 97,753 (41.5%). The province has 8 urban and 105 rural communities. The largest urban community is the provincial center of Vanadzor, with a population of 86,199. The other urban centres are Alaverdi, Stepanavan, Spitak, Shamlugh, Tashir, Akhtala and Tumanyan.

With a population of 4,578, the village of Metsavan is the largest rural municipality of Tavush.

Ethnic groups and religion[edit]

Molokan farmers in Fioletovo

The majority of Lori are ethnic Armenians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The regulating body of the church is the Diocese of Gougark, headed by Archbishop Sebouh Chouldjian. The Saint Gregory of Narek Cathedral in Vanadzor is the seat of the diocese.

However, small communities of ethnic Russian Molokans are mainly found in the villages of Fioletovo and Lermontovo, and in less numbers in the villages of Sverdlov, Mikhayelovka, Privolnoye, Pushkino, Medovka and the town of Tashir.[9] The total number of Molokans in Lori is 3,882 individuals. There are few Orthodox Russians and Ukrainians in Vanadzor, Stepanavan and the village of Amrakits.

The 793 individuals of the Yazidi community are found in the southern villages of the province including Lermontovo and Lernantsk.

Lori is also home to a tiny Greek community of 655 individuals who speak the Pontic dialect. Small Greek communities could be found in the towns of Alaverdi, Akhtala, Stepanavan, Noyemberyan and Vanadzor. The majority of the Yaghdan village is Greek.



Farmlands in Lori

The agriculture of Lori forms around 7.5% of the annual total agricultural product of Armenia.[10] Approximately, 40% of the population in Lori are involved in agricultural activities, including farming and cattle-breeding. Almost 66.3% (2,511.5 km²) of the total area of the province are arable lands, out of which 17% (421 km²) are ploughed. The main crops of the province are grains, followed by potato and vegetables.[11]

There is a large poultry farm in the town of Spitak.


Currently, the province has a contribution of around 6% in the annual total industrial product of Armenia. Lori is a major centre for metallurgical business. However, the Alaverdi copper smelter owned and operated by the "Armenian Copper Programme" company is the only smelter of the province. Copper mines are located in Alaverdi, Akhtala, Shamlugh and Teghut.

The city of Vanadzor is the main industrial centre of the province. It has 2 large clothing and sewing firms, 2 building materials and reinforced concrete manufacturing enterprises, and a polymer composite production enterprise. With its large chemical plant, Vanadzor used to be a major centre of chemical products during the Soviet period. However, the only surviving plant is the "Vanadzor Chimprom" company for chemical and biochemical products.

The town of Spitak has a flour production plant and a building materials manufacturing company.

Lori, and particularly the town of Tashir are famous for their cheese and other dairy products. A vegetable oil manufacturing enterprise is located in the village of Hartagyugh.


The mountainous nature, the mild summer climate and the green forests of Lori attract a large number of visitors during the summer season. Many sanatoriums, hotels, resorts and spas serve the province, mainly around Vanadzor, Stepanavan, Alaverdi, Dsegh and along the rivers of Dzoraget and Deped.

The Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lori has 3 nature protected areas and 2 botanical gardens: the Gyulagarak Sanctuary, the Margahovit Sanctuary, the Rhododendron caucasicum Sanctuary near Aghstev river, the Stepanavan Dendropark, and the Vanadzor Botanical Garden.


Gugark was one of the major educational centres throughout the history. The historic University of Sanahin opened in 966 AD by the efforts of the Bagratuni queen Khosrovanush, was located in the area of modern-day Sanahin.

Currently, Vanadzor has 2 universities: the "Vanadzor State University named after Hovhannes Tumanyan", and "Mkhitar Gosh Armenian-Russian International University". Branches of the Yerevan State University and National Polytechnic University of Armenia are also operating in the city.

The State College of Alaverdi offers an opportunity in pedagogical studies with a duration of two years, while the Tumanyan branch of the "Northern University" offers degrees in nursing and dental prosthesis.

As of the 2015-16 educational year, Lori has 162 schools.[12]


Vanadzor ski resort

Football, handball and winter sports are popular in Lori. There are football stadiums in Vanadzor, Alaverdi, Akhtala and Tumanyan.

FC Lori, FC Vanadzor, Debed FC and FC Akhtala had represented the province in the domestic football competitions. However, they were all dissolved due to financial difficulties.

The FFA Football Academy of Football is currently being constructed and will be ready by the end of 2015.[13]

There is also a ski resort near the city Vanadzor.


Khorakert Monastery
Saint George Church of Sverdlov

Fortresses and archaeological sites[edit]

  • Kaytson Castle of the 10th century,
  • Kayan Fortress of the 10th century,
  • Akhtala Fortress of the 10th century,
  • Lori Fortress of the 11th century,
  • Sanahin Bridge of 1195,
  • Yaghdan Bridge of the 13th century
  • Sedvi Fortress of the 13th century.

Churches and monasteries[edit]



Lori Province administration in Vanadzor

The province of Lori consists of the following 113 communities (hamaynkner), of which 8 are considered urban and 105 are considered rural.[14]

Towns or urban communities[edit]

Image City (town) Province Founded Land area (km2) Population (2011 census)
Akhtala, panoramic scene.jpg Akhtala Lori 18th century (first mentioned) 4.3 2,092
Alaverdi town1290.jpg Alaverdi Lori 17th century (first mentioned) 18 13,343
Shamlugh town Armenia.jpg Shamlugh Lori 1770 3.6 700
Spitak Спитак, Армения.jpg Spitak Lori 17th century 5.6 12,881
Stepanavan skyline.jpg Stepanavan Lori 1810 14 13,086
Tashir town centre image.jpg Tashir Lori 1844 5.6 7,773
6 General view, Tumanyan, Armenia.jpg Tumanyan Lori 1926 1 1,710
Vanadzor.jpeg Vanadzor Lori 1828 32 86,199

Villages or rural communities[edit]

Non-community villages[edit]

Former villages[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lori population, 2011 census
  2. ^ Tadevosyan, Aghasi (2007). Historical Monuments of Armenia: Akhtala. Yerevan, Armenia: "Var" Center for Cultural Initiatives. ISBN 978-99941-2-070-3. 
  3. ^ Hewsen, Robert H. (2001). Armenia: A Historical Atlas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 114. ISBN 0-226-33228-4. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Matevossian, R. (1978). "Լոռի [Lori]". In Hambardzumyan, Viktor. Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia (in Armenian) 4 (Yerevan: Armenian Encyclopedia). pp. 663–64.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Lori province description
  6. ^ Hacikyan, Agop Jack; Basmajian, Gabriel; Franchuk, Edward S.; Ouzounian, Nourhan (2000). The Heritage of Armenian Literature: From the Oral Tradition to the Golden Age 1. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 172. ISBN 9780814328156. 
  7. ^ Hacikyan, Agop Jack; Basmajian, Gabriel; Franchuk, Edward S.; Ouzounian, Nourhan (2005). The Heritage of Armenian Literature: From the eighteenth century to modern times 2. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 386. ISBN 9780814332214. 
  8. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor (1994). The Making of the Georgian Nation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 55–56. ISBN 9780253209153. 
  9. ^ Molokans of Armenia
  10. ^ Armstat: Lori
  11. ^ 2014-2017 development plan of Lori Province
  12. ^ Lori Province schools
  13. ^ Vanadzor football academy
  14. ^ "RA Lori Marz" (PDF). Marzes of the Republic of Armenia in Figures, 2002–2006. National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia. 2007. 

External links[edit]