Iran is no stranger to Christianity, as the history of Christianity in Iran dates back to the early years. Today, the majority of Iranians practice Shi’ism (branch of Islam), which is also their national religion. However, Iran is filled with locals and aliens that practice Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Judaism.
Roughly 300,000 Christians live and work in Iran, due to which you can easily find around 600 churches around the country. While we cannot cover all the churches, we bring you some of the most famous churches in Iran.
1- Qare Church – Church of the Saint Thaddeus
Commonly known as the Monastery of Saint Thaddeus – Qare Church was marked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2009. It is said to be one of the oldest churches in Iran and offers a remarkable experience. Located in West Azerbaijan Province the Church is open throughout the year and offers a classic castle appearance. Additionally, the Armenians believe that Qare Church is the world’s first church and celebrates various ceremonies and celebrations at the Church.
2- Vank Cathedral
The Holy Saviour Cathedral is one of the most staggering attractions in Isfahan. Featuring unique architecture, along with breathtakingly beautiful ceiling paintings – it is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Iran. While the cathedral was built some thousands of years ago during the Safavid era – the church is still intact and well kept. Showing off beautiful mosque-inspired domes, but with meaningful paintings and gildings.
Read also: 7 Most Beautiful Iran Mosques, 2011-2022
3- Saint Sarkis Cathedral
An Armenian Apostolic church located in the center of Tehran. The church was built back in 1970 and is known for its marble exterior. When you head inside you will find the interior to be equally dazzling, as the walls are covered with biblically themed paintings that showcase the entire story. All the while keeping up with a modern design impact that ensures the church stands apart from others. However, what makes the church stand apart from others apart from its size, is the Armenian Genocide memorial in the courtyard. Remembering the 1.5 million Armenians that were systematically exterminated by the Ottoman government from 1914 to 1923.
4- Saint Mary Church
The largest church in Tabriz, Saint Mary Church is also known as the Holy Mother of God Church, and the Surp Mariam Asdvadzadzin Church. Built more than 500 years ago, the Church is said to be a center for religious practices in the city. Apart from its religious practices, the Church is world-famous as it was mentioned by Marco Polo in his travel chronicles making it one of the most visited tourist sites in the city.
5- Saint Stepanos Monastery
Saint Stepanos Monastery dates back to the 9th century and is located approximately 15km northwest of Jolfa city. Even though the Church saw extensive damages due to earthquakes and wars it was completely rebuilt during the Safavid era. Placed beautifully in the middle of a mountainous area in a green valley, the Church is surrounded by a solid stone fence that protects the monastery. Along with religious importance, the unique designs made on the stones have turned the Church into one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.