Vank Cathedral in Isfahan
before the end of the seventeenth century, the city of Isfahan hosted six churches, while there were 24 churches in Jolfa Valley, and today there are only 13 churches left. Each of these churches has its own specific character, but the Vank Cathedral in Isfahan shines like a diamond between Iran tourism attractions.
Vank Cathedral or Holy Savior Cathedral was built in the time of Shah Abbas II. This church, as the most important church in New Jolfa, was the center for educating priests and caliphs, and it was a Christian seminary.
Vank Cathedral in Isfahan today is referred as the greatest museum of Isfahan. The library of this collection is one of the most important centers of Armenology in the world, with historical documents gathered over four hundred years so do not forget to visit here in your Iran tour.
Vank Cathedral history
During the reign of Shah Abbas I, the lands of Tabriz to the Caucasus were occupied by the Ottomans, and Shah Abbas moved to Yerevan with his big army for their liberation. After reaching Yerevan, he succeeded in conquering the land.
He didn’t want to fight with the enemies, so after leaving Yerevan, he ordered his army to destroy all the cities and villages along their way to the borders of Iran and move their residents with themselves in order to prevent the rapid pursuit of the Ottoman troops because he knew that they would not be merciful to anyone.
Anyone who stood against them or was not able to accompany them, would have to face the death. Thus, most of the towns and villages of the Armenian Ararat plain were demolished and Armenians were driven to Iran.
After crossing Aras river, from three hundred and fifty thousand Armenians, 300,000 of them sank in the river, but the rest were rescued from the armies. They came to Isfahan and after about fifty years of settling in this city under the command of Shah Abbas II, they transferred their place of residence to the south of the Zayanderud and created new neighborhoods.
After a while, Armenians who were forced to move from their ancestral lands to Isfahan spoke about returning to their home country, but Shah Abbas was reluctant to return to protect his interests and implement the programs he was in.
Why king of Iran needed to keep Armenians?
King of Iran needed a politically ambitious policy, which, on the one hand, required the Armenians to stay in Iran and, on the other hand, to prevent religious differences, because in the early seventeenth century Armenians of Isfahan were the only Christians who had direct connection with the Muslims. And the occurrence of religious differences among them was inevitable.
These were the reasons why Shah Abbas kept them in Iran by giving concessions to the Armenians, including allowing to build church. They were deployed in Jolfa, Isfahan, and sought to build their own social facilities and religious buildings.
Vank Cathedral architecture
The construction of the Vank Cathedral in Isfahan began in 1605 and lasted until 1655. Initially, the church was very small, and at the same time as building Vank, another small church was built in the southwestern part of the neighborhood so that Christians could access their places of worship.
All of the churches in Isfahan are built by Armenian architects, but the remarkable thing about them is that there are no similarities between them and the churches of Armenia or even the churches of East and West Azerbaijan.
Armenian artists found a way to build their religious buildings in Iranian architectural style, with the appearance of mosques, and using the artistic heritage of their land and the influence of Iranian art, created many spectacular works, including the construction of churches and luxurious mansions. Whose specimen is not found anywhere in the world.
The different architecture of this church
Other conditions, such as climate and materials, also have an impact on the design of the buildings of the churches in Isfahan, and have given them different faces. These new ways of making the church have made the churches of Isfahan, and especially the Vank cathedral in Isfahan, different with other churches.
Vank Cathedral paintings
What makes viewers of Vank cathedral in Isfahan more surprise, is that they are enclosed in a bunch of colors and roles in the space of the church, because all the walls, vault, dome and all corners of the church are painted with oil paints Found.
Most of these paintings depict themes of the Holy Gospel. In the part of the church, images of the birth to the ascension of Jesus Christ are seen on them and on the part of the walls there are paintings that shows to the Day of Judgment, Paradise and Hell.
On the northern wall inside the Vank cathedral in Isfahan, there are resurrection images, on top of which there is Paradise, the entrance of the Deliverers, and in the lower part of hell with fears of fire, a few dragons and dams of Rome, angels who pour out sinners into the hole.
More information about Vank Cathedral in Isfahan :
Address: Vank Cathedral Alley - East Nazar Street – Hakim Nezami intersection - Isfahan - Iran
Access time: Saturday till Thursday: 8:30 am till 18:30 pm
Friday: 8:30 till 12:30
*it is closed on Christian religious celebrations.
Cost for foreign nationals: 200,000 IRR
Suggested visit time: about 1/5 hour
Phone number: 031-36243471
Nearest Tourist Attractions: Bedkhem Church - Isfahan Music Museum
Access to vehicles: