Chaldoran Church; Oldest Church in the World

Chaldoran Church; Oldest Church in the World


Chaldoran Church; Oldest Church in the World

Although Iran has been an Islamic country for hundred years, you can find places related to the other religions. Chaldoran Church the oldest church in the world located 20 kilometers northeast of Chaldoran county. Date of construction of this church goes back to 7th century.

In 2008, this place was recorded as a historical heritage in UNESCO. One of the names of the church is Ghareh that in English means black. That`s because of black color of it. During the years, when the church was repaired, black stones were changed with white ones.

In 1319, the church was destroyed and constructed again in the year of 1329. It was repaired in the year of 1691 with black stones and in 1810, Simone Baznuni repaired it with white stones.

In Qajar era, Abbas Mirza repaired it again and set an inscription on the wall of the church with his name. Ghareh or Thaddeus church has two domes with height of 24 and 5/18 meters that the taller one is the newer.

The church consists of tree parts with names of Saint Stepanus, Zur Zur and Saint Thaddeus. You will see mountains all around the church and a river near it. Walls of the church are huge that consist of small doors and windows. There are different parts in the church like cistern, bedchamber, stable and etc.

You can see shapes of plants and humans on the wall of the church and order of Shah Abbas I with Armenian language. Monument of Thaddeus, who was a disciple of Jesus Christ is here.

How to Get There?

You can get there in 2 ways; one of them is from Tabriz where has 270 kilometers distance that you should pass Marand, Zia-Ad-Din and Showt cities. The church is located in the middle of the road of Showt to Chaldoran.  The second way is from Urmia that has 275 kilometers distance and you Should pass Salmas, Khoy and Chaldoran cities.


The closest gas station is located 35 kilometers far from the church. Get there with full tank. Take food, bottle of water and other necessary things with yourself because there is no restaurant or other facilities near the church. If you want to get there, the best time for traveling is from the beginning of May until the end of October.

Pay attention not to travel here on August because of religious celebration.

Address: Iran, West Azerbaijan Province, Chaldoran County, Saint Thaddeus Church

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