European Union Initiative
Anadolu Agency: Life inside Armenia’s fallen city
Gyumri was once a thriving trading point between east and west. A 1988 earthquake, poor Soviet rebuilding and a closed border with Turkey have kept it in the shadows since then.

“I don’t want Gyumri to be known for this,” says Arsen Vardanyan.

The young man is walking through the dilapidated streets of Armenia’s second city, Gyumri, a once-renowned town which still bears the scars of a devastating earthquake which struck in 1988.

Arsen, 24, is a law graduate who volunteers with the A. D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Center.

Named after the nuclear physicist-turned-human rights activist and Soviet dissident, the center is just a 15-minute drive from the Turkish border, a frontier which has remained closed for more than 20 years.

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