hamedan - hamadan

Hamadan (Hegmataneh)

Hamedan, the first capital of the Medes, was founded in the 7th century BC. by order of the first king of Iran, Deioces. The Medes called this city Hegmataneh, while the Greeks called it Ecbatana, which means meeting place, where they met and chose Deioces as the first king of Media. The minority of the population of Hamedan was made up of Christians and Jews for the reason that the tomb of Esther and Mordechai, two Jewish characters whose tomb is the most important pilgrimage site for Jews in the country, is located in this city.

Among the Hamedan handicrafts, one can refer to pottery dating back seven centuries. The cities of Hamedan and Lalejin are the centers of pottery made in Iran.

Initially, the western borders of the independent Median principalities did not extend much beyond the western borders of the Hamedan plain. Its original territory of communication, as the Assyrians knew it during the period between the last third of the 9th century and the beginning of the 7th century BC., was very delimited by the north and the northwest. The Medes had no choice but to expand their territory to the southwest and occupied the Zagros valley.

This city is famous for the great scholars who were born and raised in it, such as Baba Taher, Mirzadeh Eshqi and Avicenna.

Antiquities of Hamadan

  • Ecbatana

According to Herodotus, the ancient city of Ecbatana is an architectural complex built on a hill, surrounded by seven circles of walls so that the battlements of each wall exceeded those of the next circle. The battlements of these circles are painted in various colors, and those of the two inner circles are covered with silver and gold, respectively. According to the Achaemenid inscriptions in the 6th century BC. Mede goldsmiths adorned the walls of royal palaces of the imperial capital of Susa. The art of the Medes, however, remains a subject of speculation. This situation appears to last until the royal palaces of Ecbatana are discovered and studied. In the museum complex attached to the archaeological site, a ceramic from the third millennium BC stands out.

  • Mausoleum of Esther and Mordechai

Hamedan is the guardian of one of the most important events of the Jews, Purim. In fact, this holiday is celebrated annually on the 14th of the Jewish month Adar, which commemorates the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people through the intervention of Esther, a young Jewish woman who concealed her Jewish origins. Haman, the wicked minister of the Achaemenid king Xerxes I, had asked him for the holocaust of all the Jews in his kingdom. On Purim, the book of Esther is read aloud.

  • Avicenna’s Mausoleum

Avicenna (980-1037 AD) was born in Afshana, a village near Bukhara in Khorasan. After a few years, he and his family moved to Bukhara, the capital of the Samanids, where it was the active cultural center of the country. Avicenna dedicated himself to studying the knowledge of the time and completed his first studies under the control of the most prominent teachers of that time. Given the availability of teachers and libraries, the high position of his father in the Samaní administration and his precocity in the medical career, at the age of eighteen, he enjoyed fame as a doctor and expanded his knowledge in all Greek sciences. After the death of his father, he was assigned an administrative position, that of governing the district. His magnum opus, the “Canon of Medicine”, was used as a reference book for centuries, even in Montpelier until 1650. Although his works were limited to the field of medicine, he had a great interest in music, metaphysics, chemistry, philosophy and astronomy.

The Avicenna Mausoleum, built in 1954, is a complex located in Avicenna Square and has a library, a small museum and a spindle-shaped tower inspired by the Kavus Tower.

  • Lion Stone (Shir-e Sangi)

It is unclear if the statue is the symbol of the Medes or dates from the time of Alexander the Great, when he built it to commemorate his friend, Hephaestion Amíntoros. Tehis piece is one of the most famous among the stone and clay walls and palatial structures found in the place.

  • Baba Taher’s Mausoleum

A modern building dedicated to Baba Taher, an 11th century Sufi poet. The tower located in the heart of a garden offers panoramic views of Hamedan. The picturesque neighborhood, with its narrow streets and covered walkways, remains a city charm. Near Baba Taher Square, there are many ceramic and porcelain shops that are among the most famous. The mausoleum was rebuilt in 1970.

  • Ganjnameh

Ganjnameh consists of two inscriptions carved into the side of a rocky hill in the Alvand Mountains 2,500 years ago, 5 kilometers from Hamadan, in order to commemorate the exploits of the kings Darius the Great and his son Xerxes. The two panels covered in cuneiform writing have twenty lines of text in three Babylonian, Ancient Persian, and Elamite languages. The one on the left belongs to Darío and the other to his son.

  • The translation of the inscription of King Darius:

The Great God Ahura Mazda, the greatest of all gods who created this earth, the sky and the people; who gave them happiness; who made Darius king, an excellent king among many kings, an excellent ruler among many rulers. I am the great king Darius, king of this immense kingdom with distant territories, I am the son of the Achaemenid monarch Histaspes.

  • The translation of the inscription of King Xerxes:

The Great God Ahura Mazda, the greatest of all the gods who created this earth, the sky and the people; who gave them happiness; who made Xerxes king, an excellent king among many kings, an excellent ruler among many rulers. I am the great king Xerxes, king of this immense kingdom with distant territories, I am the son of the Achaemenid monarch Darius. A few meters from the inscriptions, there is a beautiful 9-meter-high waterfall.

  • Gonbad-e Alavian

A cubic-shaped historical monument that houses the remains of the Alaví family, a large family during the Seljuk period (1051-1220). Although the dome has been replaced by a roof, the mosque has been well-preserved. The central hall is square, flanked by four small towers. The stucco ornaments, the floral tendrils on the exterior walls and the geometric decorations of the mihrab are the fascinating details of this monument.

  • Ali Sadr’s Cave

The largest aquatic cave in the world, located 75 kilometers northwest of Hamedan in a town of the same name. Hamedan has a dry and cold climate, and the average annual rainfall is 300 millimeters. Geologists believe that the rocks of this mountain belong to the second geological period, the Jurassic (190-130 million years ago).

The temperature of the cave is almost always 16 degrees, while the height is about 40 meters. The length of the cave is about two kilometers and today, thanks to specific interventions, you can visit the corridors of the cave where there are several areas with giant stalactites and wonderful stalagmites. Visiting the cave requires both going on foot and in special boats, guided by local guides.


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