The Armenian Apostolic Church of the Holy Savior, also known simply as Vank (Armenian: monastery), is located in the district of Nor Jugha in the largest city of Iran Isfahan, where a large number of Armenians live. The church was built in 1655 during the reign of Shah Abbas II.
Eren Fyrat, a Turkish journalist, in his article published in the Turkish newspaper Aydınlık talks about the centuries-old presence of Armenians in Isfahan, as well as about the history of this Armenian Church, its architectural motives, and its features.
“In the epoch of Shah Abbas, a large number of Armenian Christians from the vicinity of Araks moved to Isfahan. Here, they built a mosque-like church. Armenians were engaged in trade, mainly of silk. At that time, the Iranian ambassador to Vienna was an Armenian, thanks to which most of the monumental frescoes were created by Italian masters. For the same reason, they also used Italian motifs,” the Ermenihaber website cites the author.
Ermenihaber was impressed with the magnificence of the church and one after another drew the attention of its readers to the content of the frescoes and sculptures, their style, history, and features.
However, a monument in the courtyard of the church “disturbed” Turkish tourists. This is a monument dedicated to the Armenian Genocide built in 1975. The monument includes a map of Turkey indicating the Armenian Genocide centers. It also features the inscription: “We demand that the indisputable fact of the genocide committed against the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey be recognized and that they accept their responsibility.”
The Turkish journalist expressed his dissatisfaction with this, writing: “So they slander the Ottoman Empire. With a population of over three million, Isfahan is the largest city in Iran, with a large Armenian community, and the church is also an anti-Turkish museum.”
The author of the article urges to send feedback to “brotherly Iran” that such a structure is inappropriate.