Structure of the New Julfa Churches of Isfahan after the Migration of Armenians in the Safavid Era

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of History, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Iran

2 Department of Handicrafts, Isfahan University of Art, Iran

3 Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Isfahan, Iran


Armenia is one of the areas witnessing the successive attacks from different ethnic groups due to its appropriate geographic location. The frequent attacks by the Ottoman in this territory caused the Armenians to migrate from the Julfa region to Iran during Shah Abbas I, thus the construction of distinct churches with Armenian churches in Esfahan was fulfilled. The aim of the present study was to explain and analyze the restructuring of new Armenian churches in Esfahan, relying on the history of Armenian churches and influence  by the mosques in Esfahan. The hypothesis of the present study is based on the importance of holding the "religious ceremonies" causing the reliance on the main indicators of the spatial organization of churches, and on the other hand, the influence of the elements of the Safavid era New Julfa churches. The research method in this study is based on desk studies, documentation, field observation, and photography, with a comparative and descriptive-analytical approach. The results of this research indicate that Shah Abbas I who was well aware of the Armenian capabilities, facilitated their migration to Iran that made these people follow the new Julfa churches in accordance with the physical characteristics and instruments of the Safavid era's religious buildings (such as geometry of square and rectangular plan forms, the application of spherical domes instead of cones and the use of decorative artifacts and plant designs in the inner surfaces of the church). This trend which not only distinguished these churches from the architecture of the Armenian churches, but also by following  the dominant principles of the Armenian church structures in the interior space of the churches, the Armenians could maintain their independent ethnic and religious identity in that respect.


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