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The holy Vank cathedral is one of the most beautiful historical sites of that has been built in early 17th century by an Armenian priest in cooperation with hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Jolfa district of Esfahan that they were forcibly settled by Shah Abbas I.
Although there are several local stories about the name of this church locals are of the opinion that its original name was Surp Amena Perkij Vank where is one of the holiest places in Armenia. Today it is Shortly called Vank church, however, vank means a monastery in Armenian language.
According to the history of Armenians in 17th century, they were in an unequal battle with Ottomans and Armenians were looking for a safe place to move. At first, they moved in to northwestern Iran and named the region Jolfa in order to remember their country of origin, but they still had problems with ottomans because there, was not too far from borders.
Later on, Shah Abbas I, moved them to the center of Iran and survived them. In another way he hired Armenians to work in the naqsh-e-jahan-square royal square as they were very good artists in tile working and gardening.
It was a wise decision and somehow, he sorted out all troubles at the borders. This church has been built by the priest Khachatur Gasatry as the first church of Esfahan and he enabled people to have a holy place for practicing religion.
He was also a good painter and designed inside of the main hall by paintings that are stories of holy books. In late 17th century and early 18th, other artists started building more churches and they paid more respect to this location and called it cathedral.
It has several places to visit such as big bell, that is an small cemetery of those missionaries who were killed in the war in 17th century, main hall, printer room, museums and of course, a holy place in memory of those who were killed in 1915.
As travel consultants we would highly recommend visiting this region in one day that you can get acquainted with locals and moving around randomly in its alleys.