In the process of the invasion wars of Shah Abbas the First (1571–1629), the history of the emergence of two Georgian language islands in Iran (Fereydany Georgian) and Azerbaijan (Ingilo Georgian) begins. The extension of control to the areas considered the cradle of Georgian Christianity, Tao, Klarjeti, Shavsheti, and partially Javakheti, can be interpreted as a reaction of the Ottoman Empire to the Caucasus policy of Shah Abbas. Due to linguistic isolation, the third Georgian language island (Our Georgian) is formed in Turkish territory. The first period of the formation of the socio-cultural landscape of the language islands can be characterized as a parallel process of simultaneous integration and isolation of the Christian minorities in the environment of the Islamic majority. The unconscious use of Christian practices preserved in the cultural memory appears as a component of this process. The distinctive feature of Georgian Crypto-Orthodoxy is the conscious as well as unconscious use or preservation of Christian cultural components. The focus is on preserving the identity of simultaneous transformation and accommodation in relation to the environment of the new Islamic majority.
This present study aims to challenge simplistic views of division and boundaries between Muslims and Christians. It delves into the cultural and artistic relationship between the Safavid ruling elite and the newly arrived Armenians in seventeenth-century Isfahan. The primary goal is to understand how the Armenian population merged with the predominantly Muslim community of Isfahan. An insightful perspective is gained by examining the Armenian architecture in Isfahan, where Armenians adapted and appropriated local architectural elements, creating a sense of belonging and shared identity. To gain a comprehensive understanding, the study delves into the wider cultural and political context of Isfahan during that time, drawing from a diverse array of European, Persian, and Armenian sources. By adopting this inclusive approach, the study explores the complex interplay of Christian and Muslim, as well as Safavid and Armenian elements within Isfahani society, thereby shedding light on the multifaceted identities at play.