During a recent visit to Yerevan, Armenia we checked out a traditional Armenian Market: Gumi Shuka. Here are some photos from our beautiful experience.
Largest Indoor Market in Armenia
The Gumi Shuka is the largest indoor market in Armenia. Just a few blocks away from Republic Square (where my family was staying during this visit) makes it convenient for most international visitors to the city. Some of the market was dedicated to dried fruits, nuts, and other edible goods; a butcher, some liquor stores, and a candy vendor rounded out the facility.
It was great to meet some of the local vendors and see Yerevanians buying lavash and gifts ahead of the Christmas holidays. Matthew has educated me on the impact of Armenian communities specifically in Los Angeles but also throughout the United States, it was amazing to see some of the people that reside in Yerevan preparing for time with friends and family and picking up gift baskets filled with Armenian products.
The open nature of Gumi Shuka and its rafters give some magnitude to what’s on offer. At the edges are small shops with the middle aisles filled with vendors specializing in gifts, spices, or nuts.
If you visit Armenia, you’ll have the pleasure of not only a wide selection of world-class coffee options but simple fresh-squeezed juice stands like this one (below) in the marketplace. Pomegranate is grown throughout the country and is a clear-favorite though oranges are also on hand. Mixing the two is a superb combination and will set you back about $4-5 for approximately a pint.
What I love most, besides the delicious taste and high nutrition as an alternative to artificially-engineered everything else, is the ease of the operation. A metal juicer, a cutting board and a knife, et voila – instant sustainable business. There was more than one small vendor making a living for themselves and their family with this micro venture and for some reason that inspires me.
Outside the marketplace, other vendors had set up additional fruit stands. Nearby storefronts sold live animals and there was a “wet market” feel that had me hailing a cab.
Gumi Shuka felt mostly like we had stepped into not just everyday Armenian life, but perhaps as it had been for hundreds of years. Sheets of lavash, dried fruits, and fresh-squeezed juices were favorites among our family, and if you’re nearby in the city of Yerevan, I recommend a visit.
What do you think? Have you been to Gumi Shuka? What about other markets in the area – how does it compare to your experience?