Vank Cathedral 2017-03-05
Vank Cathedral served as the centerpiece of the Armenian Georgian community of Esfahan. The Armenians became an influential minority in Esfahan when they were recruited by the Shah to assist the state in cementing control of the lucrative silk monopoly. In 1604, during the Ottoman war, they were relocated from the Ararat valley in modern-day Georgia to Esfahan, where they were granted privileges such as religious freedom and their own mayor and judiciary. Two years later, the Armenians constructed Our Savior’s Cathedral. The cathedral was rebuilt between 1655-64, having been transformed into the building one sees today.
The construction is believed to have begun in 1606 by the first arrivals,and completed with major alterations to design between 1655 and 1664 under the supervision of Archbishop David. The cathedral consists of a domed sanctuary, much like an Iranian mosque, but with the significant addition of a semi-octagonal and raised chancel usually seen in western churches. The cathedral’s exteriors are in relatively modern brickwork and are exceptionally plain compared to its elaborately decorated interior.