Date :Thursday, February 18th, 2021 | Time : 09:47 |ID: 197282 | Print
Isfahan churches

Armenian Apostolic Churches in Isfahan, Iran+Photos

SHAFAQNA- Whereas throughout history, the peoples of the world have witnessed numerous ideological or ethnic wars; History has recorded the peaceful life of the followers of monotheistic religions in Isfahan, Iran. The existence of different ethnicities and followers of monotheistic religions has formed part of the differences in the urban structure of this region, the traces of which have existed in the neighborhoods of Isfahan since before Islam. The Julfa neighborhood of Isfahan shows that the city has been the cradle of interfaith dialogue since ancient times, with Christians living in the southwest, Jews in the northeast, and Zoroastrians in the northwest, alongside Muslims.

According to statistics, one percent of the population of Isfahan is a religious minority, and statistics show that the Armenians of Isfahan have the largest population of religious minorities. Of the 24 churches, most of which were built in the first half of the seventeenth century, 13 belong to the Armenian Orthodox Church (Eastern Orthodox). Isfahan is perhaps the only city with a street with a Muslim mosque on one side and a Jewish synagogue on the other. Julfa neighborhood of Isfahan, which is located in the southern part of Zayandehrud river, is more than 400 years old and most of the inhabitants of this region are Christian Armenians.

Julfa Christians are made up of Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics. 13 Eastern Orthodox churches named Katherine, Vank, Mariam, Hakop, George, Gregor, Minas, Narcis, Nikugayoos, Sarkis, Bethlehem, Hovhannes and Stephanos have also been built in the Julfa neighborhood of Isfahan, each of which has an interesting history. Julfa churches are similar in design, structure and decorations and are a combination of Iranian and Armenian styles in terms of architecture.

The main plans and divisions of the church are based on the needs of the church’s religious rites and worships, which are inspired by stone churches in Armenia. On the other hand, the use of bricks in decorating the exterior facade and the shape of the domes completely shows the influence of Islamic art. Another common feature between Julfa churches and Safavid buildings is the use of pointed and shallow arches.

The lower part of the dome and the altar of the Church of St. Hovhannes Mgrditch are decorated with paintings with biblical themes, but the outer walls are simply covered with thatch.

The Church of St. Narcissus was built in 1666. The plan of the church is rectangular and is in east-west direction. The building has two domes, the western dome is arched and has no skylights, but the central dome is larger with eight skylights. The altar of the church with two rectangular chambers is located on both sides in the eastern part of the building.


The lower part of the dome and the altar of the Church of St. Hovhannes Mgrditch are decorated with paintings with biblical themes, but the outer walls are simply covered with thatch.


St. Nicholas Church is located in an east-west direction with a rectangular plan and its roof and dome rest on wide columns attached to the side walls. These columns divide the interior of the church into three interconnected sections. The main dome of the church is located at the top of the middle part with eight skylights. The campanile is also located in the western part and on the roof of the building. In the eastern part, the altar with two rectangular chambers is located on both sides.

The Church of St. Narcissus in the Kocher Quarter was built in 1666. The plan of the church is rectangular and is in east-west direction. The building has two domes, the western dome is arched and has no skylights, but the central dome is larger with eight skylights.

The sanctuary of the church with two rectangular chambers is located on both sides in the eastern part of the building.

The lower part of the dome and the altar of the church of St. Hovhannes Mgrditch are decorated with paintings with biblical themes, but the outer walls are simply covered with thatch.

The “Church of St. Nicholas” belongs to the Safavid period and is located in the city of Isfahan, Gharagel neighbourhood of New Julfa, Khajeh Abed alley and was built in 1630 AD.


The Gospel means good news, and is a description of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (PBUH). The four major Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, together form the new Bible.

The “St. Āmenāperkič (Vank) Church” was built entirely at the personal expense of a wealthy Armenian named Khajeh Avdik Stepanos, and the paintings on its walls were painted by some Armenian artists, including the caliphs “Hovhannes Merkoz”, “Priest Stepanos” and “Master Minas”.

The “St. Āmenāperkič (Vank) Church” was built entirely at the personal expense of a wealthy Armenian named Khajeh Avdik Stepanos, and the paintings on its walls were painted by some Armenian artists, including the caliphs “Hovhannes Merkoz”, “Priest Stepanos” and “Master Minas”.

“Surp Hakop Church”, also known as Saint Jacob Church, is the oldest church in Isfahan and was founded in 1607 AD. Hakop Church is located in the courtyard of St. Mary Church and on its northern side, and these two churches form a complex that was registered on March 8, 2002 with the number 7647 as one of the national monuments of Iran.

There are two drawing rooms on either side of the entrance to the St. Āmenāperkič (Vank) Church). At the top of the entrance, the belfry is built on three floors, on the second floor of which is a large clock weighing three hundred kilograms. On the four sides of the tower, four circular clock plates are installed, the diameter of each plate is 104 cm. The belfry and its clock were donated to the church by Mardiros Gorg Hordanian in 1931. On the right side of the entrance to the church, there is an inscription measuring 40*53 cm with marble.

Brick and clay were used in the construction of the “Church of the Holy Minas” and beautiful frames with a brick facade are visible on its outer walls. The interior walls are covered only with plaster and paintings can be seen in places such as the dome and the altar.

The Church of St. Narcissus in the Kocher Quarter was built in 1666. The plan of the church is rectangular and is in east-west direction. The building has two domes, the western dome is arched and has no skylights, but the central dome is larger with eight skylights. The sanctuary of the church with two rectangular chambers is located on both sides in the eastern part of the building.


Brick and clay were used in the construction of the “Church of the Saint Minas” and beautiful frames with a brick facade are visible on its outer walls. The interior walls are covered only with plaster. Paintings can be seen in places such as the dome and the altar.


The bell tower is located in the southwestern part of the building and on its roof and was built in 1889. The exterior walls of the church have a brick facade with beautiful frames and Iranian style windows have been used. Its southern entrances also have a stone frame with beautiful carvings in which the design of the cross is also used.

The Armenians living in Isfahan have named this church “Saint Amenapergich‎ (Vank) Church” meaning the Church of the Holy Savior. The church has a huge dome and high walls and arches.


The “Church of Saint Minas” was built in 1655-1659 AD by the Armenians who were brought to this neighborhood from the Shamsabad neighborhood (Isfahan) by the order of Shah Abbas II.

“Saint Amenapergich (Vank) Church” can be considered as one of the main and most important churches in Julfa, which is also known as the Armenian Cathedral of Isfahan.


The Church of St. Nicholas has a rectangular plan in the east-west direction and its roof and dome rest on wide columns attached to the side walls. These columns divide the interior of the church into three interconnected sections. The main dome of the church is located at the top of the middle part with eight skylights. The belfry is also located in the western part and on the roof of the building. In the eastern part, the altar with two rectangular chambers is located on both sides.


“Saint Hakop Church”, also known as St. Jacob Church, is the oldest church in Isfahan and was founded in 1607 AD. Hakop Church is located in the courtyard of the Church of the Saint Mary and on its northern side, and these two churches form a complex that was registered on March 8, 2002 with the number 7647 as one of the national monuments of Iran.

The Church of St. Narcissus in the Kocher Quarter was built in 1666. The plan of the church is rectangular and is in east-west direction. The building has two domes, the western dome is arched and has no skylights, but the central dome is larger and has eight skylights. The altar of the church with two rectangular chambers is located on both sides in the eastern part of the building.


The “Saint Amenapergich (Vank) Church” includes various sections such as printery, library, museum and office departments. This building is currently the residence of the Armenian Caliph of Iran and India.

Today, the name of “Saint Minas Church” with the number 9087 is on the list of national monuments of Iran.

In the St. Gregory Lusavorich Church, paintings used to cover the entire surface of the wall, but today they have disappeared and only parts of them remained.


The “St. Āmenāperkič (Vank) Church” was built entirely at the personal expense of a wealthy Armenian named Khajeh Avdik Stepanos, and the paintings on its walls were painted by some Armenian artists, including the caliphs “Hovhannes Merkoz”, “Priest Stepanos” and “Master Minas”.


The Church of St. Narcissus in the Kocher Quarter was built in 1666. The plan of the church is rectangular and is in east-west direction. The building has two domes, the western dome is arched and has no skylights, but the central dome is larger with eight skylights. The sanctuary of the church with two rectangular chambers is located on both sides in the eastern part of the building.

Today, the name “Saint Minas Church” with the number 9087 is on the list of national monuments of Iran.

The “Church of the Saint Minas” was built in 1655-1659 AD by the Armenians who were brought to this neighborhood from the Shamsabad neighborhood (Isfahan) by the order of Shah Abbas II.


The building of the Church of St. Georg is a rectangular plan in the east-west direction and has 3 small arched domes. The domes and the roof of the church are located on arches that rest on three pairs of wide columns attached to the inner walls.


“Surp Asdvadzadzin Church, or Saint Mary Church” was registered as one of the national monuments of Iran on March 8, 2002 with the registration number 7647.

Brick and clay are used in the construction of “Surp Asdvadzadzin Church, or Saint Mary Church” and beautiful frames with brick facades are visible on its outer walls. The interior walls are covered only with plaster and paintings can be seen in places such as the dome and the altar.

The “Surp Asdvadzadzin Church, or Saint Mary Church” was built during the Safavid period by a man named Avedik Babakian, who is one of the merchants of this period. Above the main entrance of the church there are two inscriptions in Armenian related to the year 1607 AD.

All three domes of St. George’s Church, the largest of which is the eastern dome, have skylights. At the end of the western part of the church and on its roof is the bell tower, which was built in 1920 AD.

The “Holy Bethlehem Church” was built by a man named Khaje Petros Valijanian, who was one of the famous merchants of the Safavid era, and now he and some of his family members are buried in the courtyard of this church.


The “Holy Bethlehem Church” was built by a man named Khaje Petros Valijanian, who was one of the famous merchants of the Safavid era, and now he and some of his family members are buried in the courtyard of this church.


The exterior walls of St. George’s Church are covered with thatch and the interior walls are plastered, and the interior walls are decorated with small ornaments in the form of geometric lines.


According to the inscriptions installed in front of the altar of “St. George’s Church”, it was built by the famous merchant of Julfa, Khajeh Nazar, in 1611 AD. Recognizing their religious beliefs, he ordered the demolition of the Holy Etchmiadzin Church and the transfer of its stones to Isfahan. But since this was not possible, only fifteen pieces of stone were brought from the altar and different parts of the church to the site of George Church. Because these stones are sacred to Armenians, the Church of St. George has since become a shrine for Armenians in Iran.

“Church of Sargis (Saint Sarkis Church)” belongs to the Safavid period and was built in 1659 AD. The name of the Saint Sarkis Church was originally St. Amenaprkich, but in 1850, when the church was destroyed, its equipment was transferred to Saint Sarkis Church and its name was changed.

The architecture of the Church of Bethlehem shows an astonishing combination of Catholic and Islamic architecture influenced by Armenian culture, with the church’s paintings, tiles and gilding each showing a corner of this beautiful combination.

The “Church of Saint Stepanos” belongs to the Safavid period and is located in Isfahan, New Julfa, Qarakel neighborhood, Khajeh Abed alley and was built in 1630 AD.

The original plan of the “Church of St. Mary” was in the shape of a cross, which due to the destruction of its southern arm in 1843, became rectangular in the east-west direction. Its three small arched domes and the roof rest on arches that laid on wide columns attached to the north and south walls.


The Church of St. Grigor Lusavorich is made of clay and brick in 1633. The church building is rectangular in shape and its interior walls are decorated with beautiful paintings.

The “Church of Saint Mary” was built during the Safavid period by a man named Avedik Babakian, who is one of the merchants of this period. Above the main entrance of the church there are two inscriptions in Armenian related to the year 1607 AD.

The interior of the Church of Saint Catharine consists of three interconnected parts, the eastern part of which is the sanctuary of the church. The belfry of the church is located on the west side of the building and above the main entrance. The materials used in the building are brick and clay. The interior walls of the building are covered with plaster and paintings with religious themes are drawn on the altar. On the west porch of the church still hangs the wood used instead of the bell.

Above the main entrance of the Church of Saint Mary there are also two Armenian inscriptions from 1607 AD.


The Church of the Saint Catherine is located in the Charsu neighborhood. This church was built by “Khajeh Yaghiazar Lazarian”, one of the merchants of Julfa, Isfahan, in 1623 AD for nuns.

The Church of St. Gregor Lusavorich, also known as St. Lusavorich, is a Safavid building.

In 1613, the “Church of St. Mary” was built, and now the “Church of Hakop” is located inside the Church of St. Mary.

The “Church of Holy Bethlehem” belongs to the Safavid period and is located in the city of Isfahan, Nazar Street, Jolfa Square. This monument was built in 1628 AD.


The rectangular plan of the “Church of the Saint Catherine” is located in the east-west direction and has a small arched dome and a larger dome with eight skylights. The domes and the roof of the building are placed with arches on wide columns connected to the inner walls of the building.

The Church of Sargis is built in the basilica style. Like other Safavid churches, this church has a dome with several small skylights and a small place of worship can be seen in the courtyard of the Church.

“Church of Saint Mary” was registered as one of the national monuments of Iran on March 8, 2002 with the registration number 7647.

The Church of Sargis is built in the basilica style. Like other Safavid churches, this church has a dome with several small skylights and a small place of worship can be seen in the courtyard of the Church.

The Church of St. Stepanos is located between Nazar Street and Khaghani Street in the Julfa neighborhood and dates back to 1614 AD.

The “Church of Holy Bethlehem” was registered in the list of national monuments of Iran on March 8, 2002.

The architecture of the Church of St. Stepanos is valuable and ancient in the basilica style, and its dome has eight skylights, with two small domes on either side. Materials such as clay and brick are the main materials of the building and cover the outer walls with plaster.

The architecture of the Church of St. Stepanos is valuable and ancient in the basilica style, and its dome has eight skylights, with two small domes on either side. Materials such as clay and brick are the main materials of the building and cover the outer walls with plaster.

The plan of the Church of St. Sargis is arranged in a columnar basilica in an east-west direction. The church has two domes, each with eight skylights. The smaller dome is located above the altar and the larger dome is located with arches on four pillars. The materials used in the building are clay and brick. The exterior walls are framed with brick facades and the interior walls are covered with plaster.

This news is originally published by ISNA Persian and translated by Shafaqna English 

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