New Julfa: The Armenian Quarter of Isfahan, Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Shah Abbas I, who moved his capital to Isfahan, ordered a colony of Armenian Christians from the town of Julfa (now on Iran’s northern border), to move to the village ‘New Julfa’ in Isfahan.
Shah Abbas ensured that Armenian religious freedom was respected. Now, Jolfa district Isfahan holds a prosperous community. Armenians are permitted to hold their own religious ceremonies and activities. The symbiont circle between Muslims and Christians has been standing for more than four hundred years.
Jolfa square is located on the southern side of Zayande-e Rood River. It is connected to the other side of the river by Marnan Bridge. Actually, one of Armenian’s architects renovated this bridge.
The Armenian built 25 churches, of which 13 survived. Among all the jolfa churches, Bethlehem (1628) and Vank (1655) are open to visitors.
One of the main attraction in Jolfa is the Vank Cathedral. The Jolfa Vank Cathedral is a masterpiece of architecture. Construction of this cathedral started at the time of Shah Abbas the second. Vank Cathedral is known for holding unique collections of beautiful frescos. They depict stories from the holy bible and Tora. They were painted by Armenian artists during safavid era which you can see as soon as you move into the passage and enter the prayer hall read more.
In Bethlehem church, the prayer hall is decorated with paintings depicting stories from old and new Testaments. There is also a high double layer dome with floral gilded patterns.
Nowadays, 5 of Armenian merchants’ houses, from the Safavid-era, have been converted into Art University of Isfahan.
New Julfa Isfahan has not only a laidback atmosphere, but also 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 caffes for an evening tea and dinning places for a night out.