0112 GMT December 12, 2019
Shah Abbas ensured that the Armenians’ religious freedom was respected.
Known currently as Jolfa district in Isfahan, it is home to a prosperous community. Armenians freely hold their own religious ceremonies and rituals. Coexistence between Muslims and Christians has been standing for more than centuries.
Jolfa square is located on the southern side of Zayandeh Rood River in Isfahan. It is connected to the other side of the river by Marnan Bridge. The bridge was renovated by an Armenian architect.
Today, there are 13 churches in Jolfa. Among existing Jolfa churches, Bethlehem (1628) and Vank (1655) are still open to visitors.
One of the main attractions of Jolfa is Vank Cathedral, which is an architectural masterpiece. Construction of this cathedral started at the time of Shah Abbas II (1632-1666), the seventh Safavid king. Vank Cathedral is known for being home to unique collections of beautiful frescos, which depict stories from the holy Bible and Torah. They were painted by Armenian artists during the Safavid era. The paintings become visible upon entering into the passage and the prayer hall.
In Bethlehem church, the prayer hall is decorated with paintings depicting stories from the Old and New Testaments. There is also a tall double-layer dome decorated with floral patterns.
At present, five of Armenian merchants’ houses, remaining from the Safavid era, have been converted into the Art University of Isfahan.
‘New Julfa’ has a laidback atmosphere and a unique setting which is full of life and youthful vibes. Take your time exploring it on foot, but don’t forget to sit back and relax. Plus, there are lots of cafes for an evening tea and dinning places for a night out.
Source: Tasnim News Agency