Jolfa on a time line

Jolfa has always been a strategic region. The importance of the region dates back to before Christ and it has been famous for its culture and civil life.

In the period of Soloman 'Ashabol Aras' have appeared from this district and thus have caused the creation of 12 cities on the banks of the river. These 12 cities were named after the 12 months of the solar calendar: Aban, Azar, Dey, Bahman, Esfand, Farvardin, Ordibehesht, Khordad, Tir, Mordad, Shahrivar and Mehr. The capital was the Esfandar city. The citizens of these cities worshipped spruce trees. They didn't use the creek under the spruce tree because they believed it to be sacred and were afraid that by using the water, the creek would go dry. They got the water they needed for their own use from the river Aras.

The people of these cities had some special holidays for themselves that required them to gather in one of the 12 cities every month. They tied a silk tent on a spruce tree and then sacrificed some animals for their God and then burnt the corpse of the animal sacrificed. They used the smoke of the burning body of the animal as a way of communicating with their God and would cry and weep at the side of the tree and ask for forgiveness and bless.

They went on with their lives after this ceremony until the next month when they would yet gather in another city to perform the rituals. But when they went to the capital city of Esfandar, which had 12 gates each gate special for one city, they would first pray by the side of the spruce tree and then celebrate the occasion.

The ruins of the city of Bahman around 'Ghobchagh' and the villiage of 'Nooshirvan' are situated in the central part of the Jolfa County. This city is also called Bahram sometimes.

It is believed that god destroyed all of these cities because the people didn't have religious beliefs except for the city of Ordibehesht ( now Ordubad in the republic of Nakhjavan). Ordibehesht was considered to be the religious of the 12 cities.

The historical book of Keyhan mentions Jolfa as part of Armania and summarizes the history of the district from the reign of 'Hakhamaneshis' as follows:

The Armanian Satrapi ш is situated between the rives of Dejleh, Koora and Aras and it's ancient capital is Artaxa. This city is situated near the Aras river. It has very prolific low lands especially the Aras valley. It is also famous for it's grazing lands and is a great place for raising good horses. The Satraps of Armania had to present the Iranian Royalty with some good horses every year.

After the 'Hakhamaneshi' reign, the Solouki's ruled Iran in which time these districts became independent but again in the period of the Ashkani's reign Armania obeyed Iran and paid taxes. However, by the end of the Ashkani dynasty, Armania was tempted by the Romans and sometimes obeyed them. In the time of the Sasani dynasty north-western Iran expanded until the mountains of Ghafghaz, but then when Iran was ruled by weaker kings of Sasani, Armania turned to the Romans for conduct. After the expansion of the Islamic lands, these areas became parts of the Islamic country as well.

After many struggles and the crusades between the Muslims and the Christians, European Christian Emperors took action and defeated the Islamic forces. They built the Bizans Cathedral to expand their power in the area and started constructing many religious centers and sent many missionaries to Armania and Gorjestan. Some of the churches built are the church of Iravan, Teflis and Ouch kelisa near the Aras river.

The religious minorities in north-western Iran, especially the residence of Urumieh city, are ancient Aramanian residence that lived in Jolfa in the past and in the period of Shah Abbas (1625 - 1629 A.D.) some of the industrious Christians of this district were migrated to the city of Esfahan and settled their in a small city which they named Jolfa.

Historians date the history of Jolfa back to the 5 century B.C. and claim that at that time the name of the city was Jola ( meaning weaver) and after the Armanians' settlement in the area the name changed to Jogha. But after the Armaninas were moved to Esfahan by Shah Abbas, the Latin name of 'Jolfa' was chosen for this region.

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