Jolfa is a city in and capital of Jolfa County in East Azerbaijan Province. Its population is around 4,983 in 1,365 families. It is located in the north of Tabriz, separated by the Aras River from its northern neighbor and namesake, the town of Jolfa in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The employed population of the city work in service, administrative, transport, customs, banks and insurance as well as in other trade and urban activities. The majority of the rural population is farmers.
The St. Stepanos monastery is an Armenian church about 15 km northwest of Jolfa city, East Azerbaijan Province northeast Iran. It is situated in a deep canyon along the Aras River on the Iranian side of the border between Azerbaijan and Iran. It was built in the 9th century and rebuilt in the Safavid era after several earthquakes damaged it. The name of the church is driven from the name of the first martyr of the Christian world.
The well-preserved St. Stepanos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the magnificent churches built between the 10th and 12th centuries. This remarkable structure is known for its beautiful exterior design. The carved stones on the outer walls are examples of fine art. The general structure mostly resembles Armenian and Georgian architecture and inside the building is covered with beautiful paintings.
The cylindrical building with its cone-shaped dome is surrounded by a fortress with seven towers; it has a bell tower and a courtyard as well. The unique landscape surrounding the church has given it a great potential to attract a lot of visitors to the site.