Photos: Saint Stepanous Monastery in Jolfa, Iran

Iran’s East and West Azerbaijan Provinces are host to the oldest churches in Iran. Among the most significant are the Tatavous Vank ( St. Tatavous Cathedral), which is also called the Ghara Kelissa (the black monastery). This is located at the Siahcheshmeh (Ghara-Eini) border area south of Makou.

There is also the Saint Stepanous Monastery, which stands 24 kilometers south of East Azarbaijan’s Jolfa town. The general structure mostly resembles Armenian and Georgian architecture and the inside of the building is adorned with beautiful paintings by Honatanian, a renowned Armenian artist. Hayk Ajimian, an Armenian scholar and historian, recorded that the church was originally built in the ninth century AD, but repeated earthquakes completely eroded the previous structure. The church was rebuilt during the rule of Shah Abbas the Second.

Source: Payvand News of Iran

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