Admiring Artistic Expression of Christians in Isfahan, Iran
You might be surprised to find a Christian church in Iran. But I learned that several Christian enclaves exist peacefully inside the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Vank Cathedral in the Jolfa Armenian quarter of Isfahan is a gorgeous fusion of Armenian and Islamic architecture. Corridors of successive arches – a hallmark of Islamic architecture - lead into a vibrantly painted room of Armenian and Christian iconography and typical Islamic geometrical designs. I stood astonished at the detail and depth of color, and grateful that this community has been granted its religious freedom and artistic expression. Included in the cathedral complex is a museum of the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Turks in the early part of the 20th century. Armenians fled to Isfahan for asylum and safety, and remain there today. Isfahan is brimming with spectacular religious architecture, but a cathedral was not among the sights I had expected to see!