Sev Berd

Sev Berd or Black Fortress is an abandoned Russian imperial fortress in Gyumri. The fortress, which lies 8 kilometres from the Turkish border, was built in response to the Russian-Turkish War of 1828–1829. It is a national cultural heritage monument in Armenia.

Gyumri, which lies on the border with Turkey, became part of the Russian Empire after the Treaty of Gulistan. Gyumri was renamed Alexandropol in 1837 after the visit of Tsar Nicholas I, in honor of his wife, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.

The fortress was built on top of a hill, and the full fortification took a decade after the first stones were laid in 1834. The fortress is a 360-degree round structure made of black stone, from which it gets its name. It never underwent a siege, but was of strategic importance in victories over the Turks in subsequent wars that lasted through 1878. After the final Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878, Russia then gain strongholds in Kars and Batumi, and Sev Berd began to function as a warehouse for artillery shells.


It is possible to get inside the fortress because of the absence of thresholds and steps. Access to the toilets is possible through the ramps in the central hall of the building. However, it is necessary to arrange the visit in advance so the staff can open the gates and the car can drive close to the fortress.