Kelisa-ye Vank

Cathedral in Esfahan

Built between 1648 and 1655 with the encouragement of the Safavid rulers, Kelisa-ye Vank in the Armenian neighbourhood of Jolfa is the historic focal point of the Armenian Church in Iran. The sumptuous interior is richly decorated with restored wall paintings full of life and colour, including gruesome martyrdoms and pantomime demons. The highlight of the museum (separate admission IR80,000) is a fabulous collection of illustrated gospels and Bibles, some dating back as far as the 10th century.

Appropriate to a city of miniature painters, relatively recent gifts to the museum include a prayer written on a single hair that is possible to see only with the aid of a microscope and one of the world's smallest prayer books.

A memorial outside commemorates the genocide of 1915.


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