Jolfa is one of the Iranian cities located in the northwestern province of West Azerbaijan. It borders the Republic of Azerbaijan to the west and Armenia to the north. This border city has countless tourist attractions and is known as the city of historic churches. In addition to the natural and historical attractions of this northern Iranian city, many travelers visit Jolfa to shop in the markets of this border city defined as a free zone. Jolfa is considered a semi-arid and semi-cold city in terms of climate. During hot seasons like summer, the temperature in this city is very high and in winter, due to its location near Mount Kiamki Dagh and other mountains, the temperature is low and it is very cold.
This is one of the tourist attractions in Jolfa that stands out when traveling through this region. The Aras River is born in the heights of Hezar Barakeh, south of Erzurum (Turkey), and flows from Dovalo to Qaradoni along the Iranian border. This beautiful river has a length of about 1072 km through the provinces of Ardabil, West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan.
It is located in the Kiamki protected area. It is curious to know that this beautiful waterfall of more than 15 meters high attracts many nature lovers and mountaineers every year. At the heart of the Maharan Waterfall are small and large springs that flow from the slopes of the mountain into the valley. The water from these springs has made the land fertile with trees and flowers.
The Jolfa Historical Bath is one of the most precious historical monuments in this region for its tendency to follow the principles and norms of Iranian architecture. According to experts, the architectural style of this monument is related to the standards of the Qajar era. This historic bathhouse was built on the Tabriz-Jolfa road, in the area where the caravans stopped to cross the Aras River, used mainly by merchants, traders, office workers, customs officials, the military and even the inhabitants of the town.
Kamtal National Park
The park covers an area of 7000 hectares in the north of the East Azerbaijan province, on the border with the Republic of Armenia. This park is one of the protected areas by the Ministry of Environment in East Azerbaijan province and was created to protect the natural resources and animals that live in this region.
Mount Kamtal is an area rich in valuable plants and wild animals including the wolf and the leopard. Overall, the species diversity of Kamtal National Park is about 350 species, including wild goats, rams and sheep, wild boars, brown bears, bobcats, leopards, foxes and jackals.
Caravanserai of Khajeh Nazar
One of the monuments built during the reign of Shah Abbas I in Iran is located in the city of Jolfa and is called Khajeh Nazar. In fact, this caravanserai was built in this area thanks to one of Jolfa’s respectable Armenians, Khajeh Nazar who managed to acquire a good reputation in trade during the Safavid reign.
Churches of Jolfa
The Church of Chupan (Pastor) is a historic building in west Jolfa, situated along the Aras River and nestled between the red sedimentary mountains. This place was a place of worship for the Armenian shepherds who lived in the surrounding villages. The construction of this church is very simple and has remained intact, preserving its original aspects.
Church of Saint Stephen
Another wonderful place of worship where Christianity is practiced, dating from the 9th century AD, is the Church of San Esteban. The church is located in a mountainous area where the Aras River (Gihon in the Bible) flows through the valley of the Iranian border, a few steps from the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan. The monastery is located in the middle of the abundant nature of the border area, synthesized of Iranian and Byzantine architecture that later would be known for the particular style of Armenian architecture.
The bell tower of the monastery is completely octagonal and has a salmon pink color due to the stones carved into the rocks of the surrounding mountains. From a distance, the monastery resembles a fortress, as it has a wooden and wrought iron gate, a walled enclosure, and a series of towers from which night surveillance could be carried out. Next to the prayer room there is a square cloister with many rooms to accommodate the seminarians who spent part of their lives attending the religious school of the monastery of Saint Stephen. In fact, for thousands of years this area has been a transit route for merchants, armies and the faithful.
The Jolfa Border Bazaar
The Jolfa Border Bazaar was established along the Aras River in the city of Jolfa, right on Iran’s border with the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. It is currently considered one of the most successful markets in the East Azerbaijan province. The transformation of Jolfa into the Aras Free Zone has led to the growth and expansion of the Jolfa border market and many shopping centers in this area.
If you are passionate about mountains, anthropology, hiking, mountaineering, historical landscapes and the fascinating culture of the Middle East, SITO Travel will help you organize your trip to Iran. Contact us because our experience is born and developed in the field.