Armenian Monastic Ensemble - Chapel of Dzordzor - Maku, West Azerbaijan, Iran (Persia)

Chapel of Dzordzor , Armenian Monastic Ensemble – Maku, West Azerbaijan, Iran

Armenians have a long history in Iran. In 1000 BC, they had a good political relation with Medes. During Achaemenian dynasty, the third position of imperial system was bestowed upon Armenians, after Pars and Medes. In addition, the Armenians were mentioned in Bisotun inscription. At the war between Alexander the Great and Achaemenian, they formed a large part of the Iranian army. Following the Parthian, there was a good relation between the Iranians and the Armenians. After Seljuk’s invasion, large parts of the Armenian people were captive and many of them were sold as slaves, and some were inhabited in Azerbaijan. After Alp Arsalan’s attack (the second king of Seljuk dynasty), a large group of the Armenians came to Iran and were housed in western parts.

During Achaemenian dynasty, the third position of imperial system was bestowed upon Armenians, after Pars and Medes.

At the end of the Mongol empire, Armenian societies were established in Soltaniyeh, Tabriz, Marand, and Maraghe. After Tamerlane’s attack, Armenians who had dwelt in Soltaniyeh moved to the north of Afghanistan and Mongolia. However, the biggest forced migration of Armenian happened in the 17th century after the war between Shah Abbas and Ottomans. The Armenians that resided in Kars and Jolfa were forced to immigrate to Iran and inhabit Isfahan, Shiraz, Maku, Salmas, Khoy and Urmia. A large group of these migrants moved to Gilan and Mazandaran and many died because of the climate conflict and sickness. There are many historical monuments of Armenians in Iran that most of them are religious structures.

The biggest forced migration of Armenian happened in the 17th century after the war between Shah Abbas and Ottomans.

Armenian Churches are a main sign of Armenian presence in the borders of Iran. The most famous ones are known as Armenian monastic ensemble that consists of three churches: Chapel of Dzordzor, Saint Stephanos Monastery and Saint Thaddeus Monastery. The combination of these three churches that are located in the northwest of Iran was registered as the ninth listed UNESCO historical heritage of Iran in 2008.