We did our last shopping in Armenia in Gyumri. On our way from the city, we stopped below the “Black Fortress.” Russians completed the stronghold to defend the land from the Turks in 1834 to protect the city of Alexandropol, now called Gyumri. Hans Karl von Diebitsch, commander at the time of the Russian army operating in the Caucasus, wrote: “As we are under threat of a possible war with the Turks, it is necessary to build a fortress and to strengthen it as our most important military outpost.” Built just 8 kilometers from the Turkish border, Black Fortress was initially used as a military prison. After Russia gained ground in Kars and Batumi with the siege of additional forts in the late 19th century, Sev Berd was repurposed as a warehouse for artillery shells. Since the 1940s, the 102nd Russian Military Base (formerly known as the 102nd Soviet Military Base) has been located near the fortress. In 2005, businessman Hayk Hayrapetyan acquired the building from the Ministry of Defense of Armenia. After he died in 2012, the fortress was sold to the Balasanyan family.
Parking location – Gyumri: 40.780283N 43.828372E