Famous Cathedrals & Churches In Azerbaijan | Historical Churches In Azerbaijan25th May 2023
Azerbaijan is a country of immense cultural and historical significance. Throughout the centuries, various churches and cathedrals have been built in Azerbaijan as places of worship for different religions and as monuments to the rich history of this region.
In this post we will be exploring some of Azerbaijan’s most famous historical churches and cathedrals, and their historical and cultural importance.
Famous Cathedrals & Churches In Azerbaijan
1. Baku Cathedral, Baku
Baku Cathedral is a 19th century Russian Orthodox cathedral located in Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku. It was designed in the Neo-Byzantine style and is notable for its distinctive shape resembling an open clam shell. The church is part of a complex of religious buildings that includes an outside chapel and a bell tower.
The Baku Cathedral is one of the most important landmarks in the city. Its history dates back to the 19th century, when Russia, then the empire of Russia, occupied the area. Tsar Nicholas II commissioned its construction as a symbol of respect for the local Orthodox population.
The church was built by a Russian-Finnish architect, who had previously designed the St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The cathedral is mainly built from limestone, granite, and marble. Its interior features intricate frescoes, iconostases (altar screens), and stained-glass windows.
The cathedral was damaged during the Soviet era, but was later restored to its original condition. Today, it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
2. Holy Mother of God Church, Baku
Holy Mother of God Church, or Qəşqərəvi qızıl məscid in Azerbaijani, is a 17th-century church located in Baku, Azerbaijan. The church was owned and operated by the Russian Orthodox Church until 1991. Since then, the church has come under the administration of the Russian Exarchate of the Caucasus and provides services to local Azerbaijanis of the Orthodox faith.
The Church is a stone structure with a single dome and is decorated with a painted iconostasis. It is located in the Icherisheher, which is the historical inner city district of Baku, along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The Church is open to visitors, and services are held regularly.
Holy Mother of God Church remains one of the three functioning churches in Azerbaijan, along with the Russian Orthodox Church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in Baku, and the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Myrrh-bearers in Shamakhi. The Church is open to visitors and provides regular services to local worshipers.
3. St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Baku
Located in central Baku, St. Gregory the Illuminator Church is one of the oldest churches in the city and the only Armenian Apostolic church in Azerbaijan. The church was originally built in 1859, destroyed in Soviet times and reconstructed in 2001.
The church is built on the traditional Armenian architectural style with elaborative carvings and colorful stained-glass windows. Inside the church visitors can admire the ornately decorated walls and two altars that are used for religious services.
The modern building also houses a separate prayer hall and a baptistery. St. Gregory the Illuminator Church serves as an important spiritual center for the local Armenian community as well as a popular place of worship for many tourists.
4. Saint John the Baptist Church, Tbilisi
The Saint John the Baptist Church (Georgian: წმინდა იონის სამებაღე, Tsminda Ions’ Sameba) is located in the Isani district of Tbilisi, Azerbaijan. It is a medieval Georgian Orthodox Church that was built in the 11th century.
The church was originally dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin, but was changed to honor Saint John the Baptist in the 18th century. The church is constructed of stone and is a single-nave domed basilica.
It is decorated with frescoes and has a square bell-tower. The church is listed as a state protected cultural heritage site.
5. St. Thaddeus Monastery, Nakhchivan
St Thaddeus Monastery, also known as “Kara Kilise”, is a 9th-century Armenian Apostolic church located in Nakhchivan in Azerbaijan. It is the only monument from the Armenian Apostolic Church in the entire Nakhchivan region, and one of the oldest Armenian churches in the world. The monastery was a pilgrimage site for Armenian Christians for centuries until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, allowing Armenians to visit once again.
The monastery is located on a steep mountain, and its walls, roof, and interior are made of black basalt. It is considered a magnificent example of medieval Armenian architecture. Its unique feature is its unusual plan; the central dome is separated from the rest of the building by four unconnected apses. It also features two unique double-headed eagles above the entrance arches. Inside, there are frescoes of Biblical scenes painted in the 12th century.
Today, the monastery is listed as a Cultural Monument in Azerbaijan, but it is neglected and not well maintained. This is due to its inaccessibility and difficult terrain, as well as the fact that it is in an area controlled by Azerbaijan.
6. St. Elijah Church, Shamakhi
St Elijah Church is located in Shamakhi, Azerbaijan, and is one of the oldest churches in the country. Built in 1625, it is an example of classical Armenian architecture and was built with contributions from local Armenians. The church is noted for its intricate decorations and is a symbol of Armenian culture in Azerbaijan.
The church is still open and is used by the local Armenian community for services and other special occasions. It is also a popular tourist destination and is often visited as part of sightseeing tours.
7. Angel Church, Samukh
Angel Church is located in the village of Samukh in Azerbaijan, approximately 140 kilometers from the capital city of Baku. The building is devoted to the Archangel Gabriel and is believed to have been built in the late 19th century.
Angel Church is one of the most well-preserved buildings in the region, and is a popular destination for tourists who come to view the traditional architecture and its unique fresco paintings. The site is protected by the government and the entrance is free. The interior includes an altar, and a golden-domed ceiling featuring frescoes depicting Gabriel and a few angels. The exterior is decorated with silver and gilded decorations, along with several Arabic characters.
The Church serves as a meeting place for the local worshipers, who come to pray and meditate in the presence of Archangel Gabriel. The church also hosts events such as lectures, performances and holiday celebrations.
Angel Church is a popular destination for those who are looking to learn more about Azerbaijan’s religious heritage. It is an important part of the country’s culture and history, and many visitors enjoy the chance to explore the unique architecture and traditional paintings.
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