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Cantor Church, A Russian Church in Iran

The Cantor Church or Red Church, has remained in the city since World War II, dazzling every eye with its red colour.
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Introduction to Cantor Church

Throughout history, different religions have emerged in the world, each with its unique structure for worship. The followers of Christ also built churches in cities to have a special place of worship. In the heart of Qazvin, you will find the Cantor Church, where is known as one of the most famous churches in Iran due to its distinctive architecture. The Cantor Church, also known as the Bell Tower, has remained in the city since World War II, dazzling every eye with its red colour.

History of Cantor Church

Cantor Church is in the old neighborhood of Panbeh Riseh, where was owned by the Russians in the late Qajar period, and during the Russian invasion of Iran, they remained in this city. After a while, Russians built a church called Cantor, which means centre or headquarters, referring to the engineers and staff’s place of worship. Most of those living in the neighborhood were Russian engineers and personnel working on the Qazvin highway project. They set up their offices there, built water supply facilities, a theater, and a ballet hall in Qazvin. After the Russians left Iran, there were no orthodox followers in the country, so the church was left unused; even the church bell’s did not sound. Today, the church has become a small handicraft bazaar that visitors can immerse themselves in the world of handiworks while visiting the church building.

Architecture of  Red Church

The architecture of such a red church has a structure style similar to many other churches in the world, including an irregular polygonal plan, the red bricks, and the roof covering of the domes make the building look like other churches. Most of these churches are made of bricks and mortar, containing windows in their walls. In this church, to increase the speed of construction, the designer avoided applying a lot of embellishments. The Cantor Church embraces an entrance door with Russian crosses engraved on the walls on both sides, and there are tombs of a Russian pilot and an engineer inside the church. In the western part, there is the entrance of the Cantor Church, including a space with a sloping roof.

Entering the church, after passing through the entrance, you will reach a small hall, above which there is the church bell tower. There are two rooms on both sides, one used for changing the priest’s clothes and the other for the infants’ baptism, although it is no longer possible to visit these rooms and you can only tour the church hall. There are also olive-coloured plasters in this section that brings attention. The hall consists of a prayer hall, a semicircular altar, and two rectangular areas on each side. According to Christian belief, the church was built fronting east with a dome on top of it. The prayer hall contains a dome roof and a flat cover on its side areas. Columns have been erected around the church outside the building, giving the bell tower majesty. Another part of the church is the bell tower built on three floors, with 11 meters of height and a blue dome above. In addition, the horseshoe-shaped bell tower windows give the building a different look.

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