About Vank Cathedral
Vank cathedral is located in New Jolfa , Isfahan . It is also known as “All savior’s cathedral”. The word “Vank” means monastery in English and it is the symbol of the religion freedom throughout Iran’s history. The cathedral was established in 1606 during the Ottoman war. However, It was rebuilt in 1655 because of the growing population of Christianity in Iran. The architecture of Vank cathedral is a mixture of Safavid style with high arches and Islamic style dome. It also has influenced the architecture of many other churches in Iran.
History of Vank Cathedral
During the Ottoman war of 1603_1605 , Shah Abbas I relocated the entire population of Nakhchivan including Muslim, Jewish and Armenian to Iran to make sure they wouldn’t be stuttered by Ottoman empire. The Armenians settled in Isfahan, The capital of Safavid Dynasty. They populated the New Jolfa district which was named after their original homeland . The first monastery was built in 1606 including a little church which was expanded later and turned into Vank cathedral . Then after 50 years It was rebuilt and major design changes were made. Vank cathedral was completed in 1702 .
Architecture of Vank Cathedral
Vank cathedral has a domed sanctuary , looking a lot like Iranian mosques but semi-octagonal apse and raised chansel makes it western-looking . The main entrance of the cathedral is a large wooden door through which visitors can enter from the courtyard of the building. while entering the courtyard , one encounters two rooms that were once used as administrative offices which helped Armenian process their paperwork . A large freestanding belfry stands in the cathedral courtyard and towers over the graves of the Orthodox and Protestant Christians.The variety of building styles used for the cathedral and its surroundings , reflects the history of the district , filled with European travelers , missionaries and mercenaries .
The Armenian architects built the churches in Isfahan with a unique style, the church plan is the same one as in Armenia but the exterior form and facade is completely different from the Armenian one, they used the vernacular material and constructing methods of Persian architecture. The walls are made of modest yellow bricks and gives the mistaken impression of what is inside the church .The interior of Vank cathedral is a true masterpiece . The painting are about Bible stories , Armenian motifs and Persian floral ornaments.
The spaces of the Cathedral are divided in :
1- the clock Tower
2- the printing office ( the first printing house in Iran and Middle east was located in this place behind the chamber, the office was built in the late century)
Visiting Vank cathedral is a wonderful experience for everyone especially those who are interested in history of Christianity in Iran or generally history and religion . This is only one of the many amazing places you should visit while traveling to Iran. For more information please contact us.