Vank Cathedral (Holy Savior Cathedral)

Tel: (98) 313-624-3471

Address: Isfahan Province, Isfahan, Vank Church Alley, Iran

In this ancient Persian capital, there is a miniature Armenia where the locals have kept their own culture. They have their own newspapers and church. It might seem surreal in the Middle East, but it is true. After Shah Abbas the Great conquered part of the territory of the first Christian country in history, he saw the trading and artistic talents in Armenian people. Therefore, he relocated Armenians to Isfahan, allowing them to beautify the new capital city with Armenian art. Surprisingly, these Armenian outsiders were not discriminated against, they were highly respected by the nation instead. The king even gave strict instructions that all Muslims must treat the Armenians well and respect their religion and culture. This accounts for the preservation of the most traditional Armenian culture and art in Iran till now.

The Vank Cathedral is the spiritual centre for Armenians in Iran. Although the exterior is influenced by mosque architecture, the top of the cathedral surprisingly features a small cross. The interior design, yet, fully presents the cultural elements of Armenia. The cathedral features a blend of the Islamic and Armenia styles. The interior walls of the golden cathedral show worshippers the stories in the Bible. The museum inside even exhibits precious Armenian heritage treasures. For example, the Bible in Hebrew, traditional handicrafts and the edict by Shah Abbas the Great on the protection of Armenians. All cultural relics are presented with English translations for you to gain a better understanding of this exotic land.