The Place To Go Out In Esfahan
The Armenian Quarter, Julfa, is where we ended up staying in Esfahan, by sheer incident. All the hotels closer to the center were booked, only the Julfa Hotel had rooms. How lucky we were! This neighborhood has an almost Mediterranean flair: small alleys all lined with trees, cafés and chic restaurants. Throngs of young people stroll the sidewalks and the girls are super stylish, dress elegantly and are so very pretty. Trendy clothes shops that would never make you guess of where you are. Obviously Iranians dress – especially women – very differently in private.
The Armenian Christians were brought here many centuries ago from the town of Julfa in northern Iran. Nowadays the 7.000 Christians in Esfahan can choose between 17 churches, with Vank Cathedral dominating the scene. When we visited it, it was full with Iranian tourists who stared – wide-mouthed – at the gigantic frescos. Naked people were pushed into the flames by black human-like creatures with the help of huge forks. Besides the blackness it was the horns on their heads that made them look different from the poor sinners they desperately tried to keep down in hell. Other murals showed Christian martyrs being tortured in the most sadistic ways. This left us wondering what the Iranian tourists took home, were they asking themselves if this is really the god of love?
To top things off, a group of Austrian tourists entered, one of them a man in knee length lederhosen. As a special attraction for these visitors a lady what brought into the cathedral to sing “Silent Night, Holy Night” in German…