Vank Cathedral

Vank Cathedral was one of the first churches to be established in the city's Jolfa district by Armenian deportees settled by Shah Abbas I after the Ottoman War of 1603-1605. The varying fortunes and independence of this suburb across the Zayandeh rood and its eclectic mix of European missionaries, mercenaries and travelers can be traced almost chronologically in the cathedral's combination of building styles and contrasts in its external and internal architectural treatment. The cathedral consists of a domed sanctuary, much like a Persian mosque, but with the significant addition of a semi-octagonal apse and raised chancel usually seen in western churches. The cathedral's exteriors are in relatively modern brickwork and are exceptionally plain compared to its elaborately decorated interior. The interior is covered as with fine paintings and gilded carvings and includes a wainscot of rich tile work. The delicately blue and gold painted central dome depicts the Biblical story of creation of the world and man's expulsion from Eden. Pendentives throughout the church are painted with a distinctly Armenian motif of a cherub's head surrounded by folded wings. The ceiling above the entrance is painted with delicate floral motifs in the style of Persian miniature. Two sections, or bands, of murals run around the interior walls: the top section depicts events from the life of Jesus, while the bottom section depicts tortures inflicted upon Armenian martyrs by the Ottoman Empire The library contains over 700 handwritten books and many invaluable and unique resources for research in Armenian and medieval European languages and arts. The museum displays numerous artifacts from the history of the cathedral and the Armenian community in Isfahan.



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Vank Cathedral
Vank Cathedral