The Awe-inspiring and Captivating Vank Cathedral
A traveller’s dream, birthed post-disaster after the Ottoman war very early 16th century, the extraordinary Vank Cathedral (former Amena Perkich – ‘All Saviors Cathedral’) was established by Armenian immigrants settled by Shah Abbas I in Isfahan. What was first a monastery with a small healing church (Amena Perkich), transformed into one of, and if not the, most elaborately decorated churches in Iran. This cathedral stands as a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. Its extremely simple and modern brick exterior catches every visitor off guard. Over fifty years of meticulous work by the time’s finest Persian artists has covered every centimeter of the church’s interior. The architecture of the building is a mix of Persian mosque and European church designs. Coming together, these styles have created a truly authentic and unique-to-Iran Persian church. Come along with goingIRAN to learn and discover more about this attraction!
The interior walls of the sacred structure are absolutely adorned with finely detailed frescos, gold covered carvings and tile work. All around the interior walls are two series of painted murals. The top row depicts the events and ongoings of the life of Jesus. On the bottom row are depictions of tortures and hardships that were brought on to the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire. Any space between these paintings and carvings is covered with majestic Persian Miniature floral motifs and designs. From the floor to the intricately blue and gold painted dome, there isn’t an inch of untouched space.
The attractions and inspirations here aren’t only limited to the marvelous interior design of the cathedral, however. Across the courtyard from the great church is a building that consists of both, a library and museum. It is marked by several engraved stones depicting scenes from the bible. Inside the library, visitors will find an antiquated collection of over 700 handwritten books from circa 16th century. One can also find exclusive sources of research in the Armenian and European (medieval) languages and arts. From thereon, visitors making their way through the museum will be able to find numerous artifacts from the cathedral’s history and local Armenian community. Some examples of artifacts would be:
• The order of Shah Abbas I establishing New Julfa as a place of residence for the Armenian immigrants
• An antiquated printing press alongside the first book ever printed in Iran
• Old Christian garments, vessels, and various sacramental artifacts
• Costumes belonging to the Safavid Dynasty, tapestries, medieval European paintings and other valuables from that time’s society
• Extensive documentation and photographs of the Armenian genocide in Turkey (1915)
Vank is a one of a kind structure and historically rich destination that can never be forgotten. This illustrious and truly awe-inspiring sight is should definitely not be missed by any tourists or travellers that are visiting Isfahan!
Address: Vank Church Alley, Jolfa Area, Nazar Miyani St., Hakim Nezami St.
Operating Days: Everyday
Operating Hours: 8 – 12am and 2 – 6pm
Typical Price: 200.000 Rls.
Neighborhood: Jolfa Area (Old Quarter Armenians) – Jolfa Hotel – Hermes Café – Khaghani Area (Old Quarter Armenians)