We walked into the Armenian quarter, which is said to have been set up in 1603 when the Safavid shah ordered the resettlement of some 10,000 Armenians from the Caucasus, most certainly to ensure that their skills in silk trading remained in Safavid hands.
The community is said to have been allowed freedom of worship and Abbas I himself, according to what is known to be true, attended Ephiphany celebrations and even commanded important relics to be brought into the Cathedral, whose construction began in 1606, though it was largely rebuilt in the years 1650-63.
Having been to Armenia earlier in the year I was naturally curious as to their religious practices outside their homeland.
As we made our way into the main entrance a huge courtyard surrounded by various buildings, amongst which a Museum, could be seen.
Despite the fact that the paintings covering the main entrance were in need of restoration I was nevertheless impressed by them, whether they depicted flower motifs or Christian scenes.
(To be continued)