Christmas in Iran: Inside The 17th Century Iranian-Armenian Monastery of St. Amenaprkich (Vank Church) — In Pictures

Vank Cathedral is one of the largest historical and religious attractions of Isfahan. It is located in the centre of Isfahan, in the New Jolfa neighbourhood. 

The monastery has played a significant role as the first cultural communication link between Armenians and Iranians. Vank Cathedral has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Every year around Christmas and New Year, local musicians play traditional music. (Instrument: Armenian bagpipe)
The Vank Cathedral printing house was built in 1630. Every year around Christmas, a decorated christmas tree is put on display.
The entrance of the cathedral can be identified by following the bell tower. This tower consists of three stories. The first floor is the room of the priests. The second floor contains four clocks which are installed on the walls. The third floor is the bell ringers’ room.
This mural depicts the seven heavens. At its highest point is an image of God depicted as an elderly person. Below that are Christ and Mary. A cross is painted under the feet of Christ, below which a person is kneeling, praying, and asking for forgiveness as he embraces the cross. His name is Eunuch Odik Stepanovski, the sponsor of the Cathedral’s paintings. 
A picture of hell
More depictions of sinful people in hell.
The inside of the Cathedral and all the surrounding walls and its sides are decorated with oil paintings, enriched with gold, in the Iranian and Armenian style. All the paintings are by Armenian artists and show biblical stories ranging from Adam and Eve all the way until the crucifixion of Christ.
uncensored mural paintings inside Vank church of Iran
The beautiful paintings on the walls of Vank Cathedral are perhaps the only remaining fully uncensored mural paintings still remaining in Iran.
The usage of stark colours makes comprehending the form and structure of the interior of the church relatively difficult. 
One of the characteristics of Vank Cathedral is its domes. The Cathedral has one small and two large domes, which are in the Iranian architectural style.
The altar is located in the easternmost point of the Cathedral. Its location in the East is related to the belief that Christ emerged from the East. The area around the altar is decorated with Iranian style ceramic tiles.
The exit of the Cathedral is decorated with paintings on canvas cloth.
The design for the exterior of the Cathedral, as well as its dome are strongly influenced by Safavid architecture.
A view of the courtyard of the Vank Cathedral
The Bell Room
The mitre belonging to Bishop Javier
A vendor has placed his chair on the sidewalk in front of the Vank Cathedral to warm himself with sunlight in the cold of winter.
View of Saint Mary’s Church.

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