In addition to the Armenian sanctuary, the Cathedral of Vank is the site of preserving valuable historical works and old manuscripts and is therefore considered one of the tourist attractions of Isfahan, which is visited by many tourists who go on any of Isfahan tours.
The Holy Savior Cathedral is the name of the ancient church belonging to the Armenians of Isfahan, also known the Cathedral of Vank. Vank means the monastery in Armenian. This monument was built during the reign of Shah Abbas II and in the neighborhood of Jolfa in Isfahan (the old and vast region of Isfahan, where its inhabitants are Armenians), which today has become a tourist attraction and can be classified as a religious tourist attraction, which is introduced to tourists who go on Isfahan tours.
Also, 16 of Isfahan hotels are built around this church some of which have good quality in comparison with other Iran hotels.
When returning to Iran, Shah Abbas brought with him all Armenians in towns and villages on his way to Iranand destroyed all their homes, farms, livestock, and other belongings, and burned them to slow down Ottoman troops. With his troops, he accompanied Armenians to the Jolfa district of Isfahan.
The Cathedral of Vank is the first Armenian religious site in Jolfa, Isfahan. After settling the Armenians in the Jolfa district of Isfahan, they carried out cultural, social, economic and religious activities that were necessary to create a humanitarian society, which was the creation of religious sites as one of these measures. They founded about 13 churches andthe Cathedral of Vankwas thevery first religious building that was built at that time.
Also during the construction of the Cathedral of Vank, another church was built in the southwest, which was used by the clergy up to 50 years after its construction. Eventually, in 1655, due to the low space of the church, Armenians destroyed it and began building a new church in the same place. The process of constructing this religious site lasted for nearly a decade, ending in 1664. Then they insertedan inscription with azurite color tiles and engraved with a golden line on the westernfacade of the church, which indicates the beginning and completion of the construction. The inscription is written like this:
"The Cathedral of Vank(The Holy Savior Cathedral) began in 1655 during the reign of King Abbas II and the Imperial Philip, and the ruler of the Caliph "David"and with the help of the noble people of Jolfa, and ended in 1664. The rewards of the worship performed at the Cathedral of Vank will be given to those who are living or passed away". If you are about to travel to Iran and specially travel to Isfahan, it is highly recommended to visit this historic church.
Today the Cathedral of Vank has various sections, including museum, library, printing house and office buildings. Raw adobes are used in constructing ancient place (most ancient Armenian churches are made of stones). This historic site has been erected in an area of about 4,000 square meters, which, taking into account the greenery and the Vank garden the whole place is located in an area of nearly 9,000 square meters.
The triangular bell tower, consisting of three floors, is located above the entrance door of the Cathedral of Vank. On the second floor there is a massive clock that weighs in excess of 300 kilograms. In 1931, MartirosHurdananianpresented a bell tower and clock to the church, which can be seen on the four sides of the tower. It is interesting to know that on the entrance door is a marble note, engraved on it with the following text.
“This tower and clock was made by MartirosGevorgHurdananian in 1931 to commemorate his brother, who died in 1924”.
The small dome and the big dome are two domes built by the creators of the building in the church building. It is interesting to know that the domes of this church, despite the fact that most Armenian convents are constricted geometrically, is similar to the dome of Iranian mosques during the Safavid rule.
In the upper part of the entrance door, on the path between the western wall and the margin of the little dome of the church, the small bell tower, the second bell tower of the church, is located in a square box.
Paintings performed in different parts of the Church, derived fromBible, the holly book of Christians.
Beautiful and artistic decorations in different parts of the church have been made, of which the most notables are paintings performed on the ring of the dome, inside it, the entire corners of the church, all the walls and vaults. In most of these paintings, you can see the biblical themes.
From other parts of the church, the museum is a religious and sacred place dating back to hundreds of years. In 1905, it was built by a person called TatausHonanian (author of “the History of Jolfa of Isfahan”). He considered chambers on the northern side of the churchyard to hold and display books, manuscripts and historical objects that used to be both a museum and a library until 1930.
One of the most famous objects in the museum is the 18-year-old girl's hair on which lines of Torah was written in Armenian and by a diamond pen in 1974 by VahramHakopian.
Books and manuscripts, European and Armenian artists’ paintings, stucco boards ofSafavid palaces, metal works such as gold, silver, all kinds of crates, and several types of handicrafts such as traditional sewing, porcelain and pottery, wooden works like all kinds of furniture, clocks, candlesticks, woodcarving boards, etc. are among the things that can be seen in the museum.