New Julfa (Persian: محله جلفای اصفهان , literally "Jolfa quarter of Esfahan"; Armenian: Նոր Ջուղա, Nor Jugha) is the Armenian quarter of Isfahan, Iran, located along the south bank of the river Zayandeh River.
New Julfa was established in 1606 as an Armenian quarter by edict of Shah Abbas I, the influential shah from the Safavid dynasty. Over 150,000 Armenians were moved there from Julfa (also known as Jugha or Juła) in Nakhichevan. Iranian accounts state that the Armenians came to Persia fleeing the Ottoman Empire's persecution; European and Armenian accounts state that the population was moved by force in 1604 and their hometown destroyed by Shah Abbas (Baghdiantz, Herzig, in Kévonian). All accounts agree that, as the residents of Julfa were famous for their silk trade (Kévonian, Baghdiantz, Herzig), Shah Abbas treated the population well and hoped that their settlement in Isfahan would be beneficial to Persia.
In 1947 the famous historian Fernand Braudel wrote that the Armenians had a network that stretched from Amsterdam to Manila in the Philippines. Many scholars in Armenia have done pioneering work on this network in the 60's, 70's and 80's, Levon Khachikian and Sushanik Khachikian have edited and published several New Julfan account books. Over the next few centuries, New Julfa became the hub of "one of the greatest trade networks of the early modern era" (Aslanian 2008: 128), with outposts as far east as Canton, Surabaya, and Manila (Bhattacharya) and as far west as Cadiz, London, and Amsterdam, with a few merchants traveling across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans to Acapulco or Mexico City.
New Julfa's also controlled many of the Armenian trading families and their churches in India, families that were originally from Julfa (Baghdiantz, Chaudhuri, see also Mesrop Seth) Hughli was a main settlement in Bengal (Chaudhuri). Some scholars argue that Surat, Bengal and Hughli were independent nodes and that the central control of New Julfa was not as important to their thriving Indian Ocean trade (Bhattacharya). Many New Julfan Armenians later settled in Manila, Hong Kong and also in Australia. Their networks and have been studied based on Armenian sources (Baghdiantz, Kévonian, Khachikian). Not forgetting Singapore where Armenians from New Julfa became the mainstay of the community. Most were traders, but perhaps better known were the Sarkies (Ter Woskanian) brothers who founded Singapore's iconic Raffles Hotel in 1887. [Wright]
New Julfa is still an Armenian-populated area with an Armenian school and sixteen churches, including Surp Amenaprgitch Vank. Armenians in New Julfa observe Iranian law with regard to clothing, but otherwise retain a distinct Armenian language, identity and culture (Ghougassian). The policy of the Safavids was very tolerant towards the Armenians as compared to other minorities, such as the Iranian Georgians and Circassians.
Popular with young people in Esfahan, it is experiencing considerable growth compared to other districts.
List of Armenian Apostolic churches in New Julfa:
- Surp Amenaprgitch Cathedral (All Saviour's Cathedral) and Armenian Prelacy - 1655
- Surp Katarine (St. Catherine) Nunnery - Charsu - 1623
- Surp Gevork (St. George) Church - Hakim Nezami Ave. - 1611
- Surp Stepanos (St. Stephen) Church - Hakopjan - 1614
- Surp Hovannes Mgrditch (St. John the Baptist) Church - Charsou - 1621
- Surp Minas (St. Minas) Church - 1659
- Surp Nerses (St. Nerses) Church - 1666
- Surp Grigor Lusavoritch (St. Gregory the Illuminator) Church - 1633
- Surp Sarkis (St. Sarkis) Church - 1659
- Surp Hakop (St. Jacob) Church - Big Meidan - 1607
- Surp Asdvadzadzin (Holy Mother of God) Church - Big Meidan - 1613
- Surp Betłehem (Holy Bethlehem) Church - Big Meidan - 1628
- Surp Nikołayos Hayrapet (St. Nicholas) Church - 1630
- Bogdan Saltanov (1630-1703), painter
- Catholicos Alexander Jughayetsi (d. 1714)
- Coja Petrus Uscan (1680-1751), merchant
- Marcara Avanchintz (17th century), merchant
- Shahamir Shahamirian (18th century), philosopher
- Ivan Lazarevich Lazarev (1735-1801), jeweler
- George Manook (1763-1827), merchant
- Hakob Hovnatanyan (1806-1871), painter
- Minus Megerdich Zorab (1833-1896), painter
- Mirza Malkam Khan (1833-1908), politician
- Vittoria Aganoor (1855-1910), poet
- Arathoon Stephen (1861-1927), businessman
- Diana Abgar (1859-1937), diplomat
- Mesrovb Jacob Seth (1871-1939), scholar
- Alenush Terian (1920-2011), astronomer and physicist
- George Bournoutian (b. 1943), scholar
- Caro Lucas (1949-2010), scholar
- Hrant Markarian (b. 1958), politician and chairman of Armenian Revolutionary Federation
- Patrik Baboumian (b. 1979), bodybuilder
- Aren Davoudi (b. 1986), basketball player
- Oshin Sahakian (b. 1986), basketball player
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to San Lazzaro degli Armeni (Venice).|
- see this article on Iranian churches
- Hin Jugha in Armeniapedia.
- Sebouh Aslanian. "The Salt in a Merchant's Letter": The Culture of Julfan Correspondence in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. Journal of World History 19 (2008): 127-188.
- Baghdiantz McCabe, Ina The Shah’s Silk for Europe’s Silver: The Eurasian Silk trade of the Julfan Armenians in Safavid Iran and India(1590–1750). (University of Pennsylvania Series), Scholar’sPress, 1999.
- Bhattacharya, Bhaswatti “Making Money at the Blessed Place of Manilla: Armenians in the Madras- Manila Trade in the Eighteenth Century.” Journal of Global History, (2008),3, 1-20.
- Sushil Chaudhuri and Kéram Kévonian eds., Les Arméniens dans le commerce asiatique au début de l’ere moderne [Armenians in Asian trade in the Early Modern Era], (Paris, 2007).
- Sushil Chaudhuri “Trading Networks in a Traditional Diaspora: Armenians in India 1600-1800.”, in Diaspora and Entrepreneurial Networks 1600-2000. Ina Baghdiantz McCabe, Gelina Harlaftis, Ionna Minoglu, eds., Oxford, 2005, 51-72.
- Vasgen Ghougassian The Emergence of the Diocese of New Julfa in the Seventeenth Century, Atlanta, University of Pennsylvania Series), 1998.
- Gregorian, Vartan. “Minorities of Isphahan: The Armenian Community of Isphahan,1587-1722.” Iranian Studies 7, no. 2 (1974), pp. 652–81.
- Wright Nadia H., Respected Citizens: The History of Armenians in Singapore and Malaysia, Amassia Publishing, 2003.
- Historical Churches of Iran on Iran Chamber Society (www.iranchamber.com)
- Armeniapedia article on Isfahan
- Jolfa in Isfahan - Armenian Churches and Armenians in Iran