9.Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran (2008)

Saint Stepanos Monastery


9.Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran



The Armenian monasteries of Iran have borne continuous testimony, since the origins of Christianity and certainly since the 7th century, to Armenian culture in its relations and contact with the Persian and later the Iranian civilizations.They bear testimony to a very large and refined panorama of architectural and decorative content associated with Armenian culture, in interaction with other regional cultures: Byzantine, Orthodox, Assyrian, Persian and Muslim.

The monasteries have survived some 2,000 years of destruction, both of human origin and as a result of natural disasters. They have been rebuilt several times in a spirit in keeping with Armenian cultural traditions. Today they are the only important vestiges of Armenian culture in this region. Saint-Thaddeus. the presumed location of the tomb of the apostle of Jesus Christ, St. Thaddeus, has always been a place of high spiritual value for Christians and other inhabitants in the region. It is still today a living place of pilgrimage for the Armenian Church.

Justification for Inscription:

Criterion (i): The Armenian monasteries of Iran illustrate the Outstanding Universal Value of Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important cultural interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian. 

Criterion (ii): Situated at the southeastern limits of the main zone of Armenian culture, the monasteries were a major center for its diffusion in the region Today they are the last regional testimony of this culture in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity.

Criterion (vi): The monastic ensembles are the place of pilgrimage of the apostle St. Thaddeus, which bears an outstanding living testimony to Armenian religious traditions down the centuries.


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