One of the best and different experiences of traveling to Iran is visiting the Armenian region of Jolfa. Armenian people living in Isfahan have been sent from Jolfa area in the northwest Iran, near Azerbaijan border, by Shah Abbas’s command in order to be protected. This happened around 1600 AD and in 1604 Armenians inhabited in Shams Abad region and moved to Jolfa region when it got ready. Armenians started living comfortably and occupied themselves with building churches. Vank Cathedral is one of them. As the Italian tourist Pietro Della Valle said, at the time of his arrival 10 churches existed in Isfahan and Jean Chardin counts 30 in his time.
Today Jolfa region is still vivacious and some of its streets are turned into special shopping centers. Also a part of this region has kept its traditional structure and is paved by Isfahan’s municipal’s help. As for design and up-keeping of this region, it was tried to keep the originality of the buildings. In the alleys leading to Vank Cathedral there are a lot of cafes that are managed by young Armenian people. While visiting this region and Vank Cathedral, try the taste of their coffee too. Armenian society of Isfahan, based on the regulations of Islamic Republic of Iran, is considered as religious minority and based on law pursue their own religious, social, cultural, convenience, charity and personal issues and follow Armenian Apostolic Church’s customs and rituals. Isfahan has archbishop and the organization is in Beirut, Lebanon, based on rules and principles of the Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia. The population of Armenians dwelling in Iran is around 60 to 70 thousand people and Armenians of Isfahan are around 6000.