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The stunning interior Vank Cathedral, Iran’s largest church and a masterpiece of Iranian Christian art and architecture built in the 1600s.

Thread on New Jolfa, #Iran the heart of Esfahan’s Armenian-Iranian community:
Vank Cathedral is the spiritual center of Esfahan’s Armenian community, which numbers in the thousands.

It was built in the 1660s, after the Safavid Shah moved thousands of Armenians from the Caucasus - part of Iran until the 1800 - to settle his new capital.
The interior of Vank Cathedral is incredible - it represents a harmonious fusion of Iranian, Armenian, and Christian themes.

It is a perfect metaphor for Armenian identity in Iran, which is home to hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians today.
Beside Vank Cathedral is a museum of Armenian Iranian history.

The vast majority of Iran’s Armenians trace their origins to Iran’s Caucasian provinces and Urmia.
A small number of Iranian Armenian trace their background to refugees from the Ottoman Genocide in 1915, and the church has a memorial and exhibit to the victims.
The Vank Cathedral museum has some beautiful works of Armenian Iranian art and handicrafts, including this image of the Virgin Mary
Vank is located in New Jolfa, the Armenian district of Esfahan.

Here you can see the church and the busy streets around it.
New Jolfa was for centuries the heart of a thriving Armenian trade network stretching from Iran east toward China, India, and Indonesia and West into the Ottoman Empire, East Africa, and Europe.

This map depicts cities that had Iranian Armenian neighborhoods of New Jolfans
New Jolfa is today a quaint neighborhood of cafes, shops, and a lot of street musicians, and beside the Armenians who live there many Iranians visit for the quarter’s cute feel, pretty churches, and good clothing shops.
Around New Jolfa you see many of these distinctive domes, that are the large signature architecture of Iranian Armenian churches.
This is New Bethlehem church, another stunning Armenian Iranian church located in New Jolfa, Esfahan
More images of the lovely New Bethlehem Church in Esfahan, named for the Palestinian city where Jesus was born
Street musician playing in New Jolfa’s main square
New Jolfa is still today home to thousands of Iranian Armenian Christians, though tens of thousands have moved to Tehran, which is also gone to large Armenian neighborhoods (and churches!)
New Jolfa is named for Jolfa village, near the Turkish border, where locals trace their roots.

Many Georgians were also brought. A number of villages near Esfahan still speak Georgian, just as Armenians retained their language while fitting seamlessly into Iranian society.
This beautiful Iranian-Armenian image of the Virgin Mary

A reminder that Christianity is indigenous to the Middle East #Iran
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