Jolfa can be examined from two perspectives. Jolfa is important in two dimensions, one economic and the other historical and cultural, especially due to the existence of Iranian Christians who are among the religious minorities in Iran.
Jolfa is the zero point of Iran’s border. Neighboring Armenia and the, which has recently become an independent state of Azerbaijan.
For this reason, the economic and transit importance of Jolfa is very high. Jolfa is located in the Aras Free Trade Zone and has always been important in all periods of history, especially in modern times, due to the passage of the national and international railway that connects it to the countries and places around the Caucasus.
Jolfa border market in this city is located exactly on the border of the Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. An active and thriving market where any device can be purchased at a more reasonable price than other parts of the country.
Jolfa is a large region between Iran, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, which housed many Persian Christians, and trade in this region was very prosperous. Silk was the main product of this district and because it was located on the Silk Road, it was considered one of the most populous areas of Azerbaijan. By order of Shah Abbas I, the Safavid dynasty, a region with the characteristics of Jolfa was built in Isfahan and many Armenians migrated to Isfahan so that industry, trade, and the making of things that the Armenians were famous for would spread throughout Isfahan.
The natural border between Iran and Armenia and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which separated from Iran and joined Tsarist Russia after the Treaty of Turkmenchay, is the Aras River.
The Aras River originates from the heights of Erzurum, in Turkey, and flows from Dovalo to Qaradoni on the Iranian border.
The length of this river is about 1072 km and passing from west to east, it passes through the provinces of Ardabil, West Azerbaijan, and East Azerbaijan. The widest point of the river is near the city of Jolfa, where the width of the river is more than 200 meters and its depth is more than four meters.
This permanent river is full of water in all seasons. Due to environmental issues and spawning of fish, fishing licenses are issued on some days of the year, and these days, the banks of the river in Jolfa and other cities such as Poldasht and Siah Rud host fishermen.
In the whole Jolfa region, we see many historical caravanserais, which shows its commercial importance, and after Tabriz, it is almost the second most visited and visited place in East Azerbaijan.
The Jolfa National Railway was built during World War II to expedite British aid to Russia, and even the trains that still run on it are reminiscent of that time. Jolfa to Tabriz is three and a half hours by train, the price is very low. Your passage along this route will be from mountainous areas. Therefore, whatever season you choose, nature will bring you beautiful surprises.
However, the summers in Jolfa are reported to be somewhat warm and the winters are snowy due to the surrounding mountains. The snowfall in the city of Jolfa itself is not as high as in the areas around.
If we skip the many shopping malls and markets in Jolfa due to its free trade zone and easy access to foreign borders and goods, Jolfa and all the roads that reach it are naturally beautiful. In particular, the existence of numerous churches has made it a haven for believers in Christianity and has coexisted peacefully with Persian Muslim Turks.
Saint Stepanos Monastery: Three kilometers south of the Aras River and 17 kilometers from the city of Jolfa itself, hidden in the maze of beautiful nature of the region, is the second most important Armenian church in Iran, commemorating the first martyr of Christianity who was conquered by the Jews in 36 AD.
The building of the church and the monastery, which is built next to it and is known as “Ghezel Vank” or the Red Monastery, is very impressive in terms of architecture.
This church, which does not have easy access, was not safe from the ravages of time, and many parts of it were destroyed, but it was rebuilt by Shah Abbas Safavid to win the hearts of the Armenians of Jolfa.
Every year, on a specific day, Armenians in Iran visit this church and perform their rituals. They continue to strive to preserve the importance of this church, which has existed since the 6th century AH.
The decorations and architectural style of this building, which later became famous in the Armenian style, are noteworthy.
The church has three main spaces, the bell tower, the Daniel stove, and the main chapel.
The prayer house, which is currently being renovated, in the past, had images of Christian saints and inscriptions of some of the kings of Iran during the Qajar period who tried to preserve this building.
What is important is the soothing atmosphere of this church. As if hidden in the heart of nature, it invites the visitor to peace. It depends on when you visit it when no one else is in church. For example, on the cold days of the year, it is the best opportunity to take advantage of the stillness of this church and the huge building. In other seasons, heat and crowds can bother you.
Kordasht is located in the city of Jolfa, Tabriz, on the border with Armenia. One of the most important attractions of this village is the historical Kurdish bath. This building dates back to the time of Shah Abbas Safavid. This beautiful bath was also the residence of Abbas Mirza, son of Fath Ali Shah Qajar, the only worthy member of the Qajar house. A very beautiful bathroom taken from the original Iranian architecture is located in the middle of a lush garden. This monument attracts a large number of tourists every year.
About 30 km from the city of Jolfa, near the village of Minjan Abad, is one of the most spectacular natural and historical places in this district, called “Asiyab Kharabeh” or the ruined mill waterfall.
Next to an old mill in the heart of the mountain, a bewitching high waterfall will catch your eyes. A waterfall that flows down the mountain, creating a world of greenery and life. An area with sufficient amenities for tourists and nature lovers in this area is ready to receive guests and tourists.
Jolfa is not some free trade zone or just a wonderful natural landscape to go and visit and relax, though it possesses all those qualities, there is no place like Jolfa for you to feel you have been summoned to witness the kingdom to come.