Hamedan is the capital city of Hamadan Province in Iran. Ecbatana, was the former name of this old and beautiful city.
Hamadan is believed to be among the oldest Iranian cities and one of the oldest in the world. It is possible that it was occupied by the Assyrians in 1100 BC; the Ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, states that it was the capital of the Medes, around 700 BC.
Hamadan has a green mountainous area in the foothills of the 3,574-meter Alvand Mountain, in the Midwest part of Iran. The city is 1,850 meters above sea level.
The special nature of the old city of Hamedan and its historic sites attract tourists during the summer to this city. It is located approximately 360 kilometers southwest of Tehran.
The main symbols of this city are the Ganj Nameh inscription, the Avicenna monument and the Baba
Taher monument. The majority of the population is Persian; however, there is a considerable Azerbaijani minority.
According to Clifford Edmund Bosworth, “Hamadan is a very old city. It may conceivably, but improbably, be mentioned in cuneiform texts from ca. 1100 BC, the time of Assyrian King Tiglath-pilesar I, but is certainly mentioned by Herodotus who says that the king of Media Diokes built the city of Ecbatana in the 7th century BC.”
Hamadan was established by the Medes and was the capital of the Median Empire. It then became one of several capital cities of the Achaemenid Dynasty.
Hamadan is mentioned in the biblical book of Ezra as the place where a scroll was found giving the Jews permission from King Darius to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. (Ezra 6:2). Its ancient name of Ecbatana is used in the Ezra text. Because it was a mile above sea level, it was a good place to preserve leather documents.
During the Parthian era, Ctesiphon was the capital of the country, the summer capital and residence of the Parthian rulers. After the Parthians, the Sassanids constructed their summer palaces in Hamadan. In the year 633 the battle of Nahavand took place and Hamadan fell into the hands of the Muslim Arabs.
During the Buwayhids, the city suffered much damage. In the 11th century, the Seljuks shifted their capital from Baghdad to Hamadan. The city of Hamadan, its fortunes following the rise and fall of regional powers, was completely destroyed during the Timurid invasion. During the Safavid era, the city thrived. Thereafter, in the 18th century, Hamadan was surrendered to the Ottomans, but due to the work of Nader Shah e Afshar, Hamadan was cleared of invaders and, as a result of a peace treaty between Iran and the Ottomans, it was returned to Iran. Hamadan stands on the Silk Road, and even in recent centuries the city enjoyed strong commerce and trade as a result of its location on the main road network in the western region of Persia and Iran.
During World War I, the city was the scene of heavy fighting between Russian and Turko-German forces. It was occupied by both armies, and finally by the British, before it was returned to control of the Iranian government at the end of the war in 1918.
Tourism and Attractions:
Baba Taher was an 11th-century Persian poet. His poetry is written in Hamedani dialect of Persian language. According to L. P. Elwell-Sutton, he probably wrote in the local dialect, which “Most traditional sources call it loosely Luri, while the name commonly applied from an early date to verses of this kind, Fahlaviyat, presumably implies that they were thought to be in a language related to the Middle Iranian dialect Pahlavi. Rouben Abrahamian however found a close affinity with the dialect spoken at the present time by the Jews of Hamadan.” According to The Cambridge History of Iran, Baba Taher spoke a certain Persian dialect.
Baba Taher is known as one of the most revered and respectable early poets in Persian literature. Most of his life is clouded in mystery. He was born and lived in Hamadan, the capital city of the Hamedan Province in Iran. He was known by the name of Baba Taher-e Oryan (The Naked), which suggests that he may have been a wandering dervish. Legend tells that the poet, an illiterate woodcutter, attended lectures at a religious school, where he was not welcomed by his fellow-students. The dates of his birth and death are unknown. One source indicates that he died in 1019. If this is accurate, it would make Baba Taher a contemporary of Ferdowsi and Pour Sina (Avicenna) and an immediate precursor of Omar Khayyam. Another source reports that he lived between 1000 and 1055, which is most unlikely. Reliable research notes speculate that Baba Taher lived for seventy-five years. Rahat al-sodur of Ravandi (completed 603/1206), describes a meeting between Baba Taher, and the Saljuq conqueror Togrel (pp. 98–99). According to L. P. Elwell-Sutton “He could be described as the first great poet of Sufi love in Persian literature”. In the last two decades his do-baytis have often been put to music.
Baba Taher poems are recited to the present day all over Iran, accompanied with setar (in Persian: Seh Tar), three stringed viol or lute. They say Pahlaviat to these kinds of poems and they are very ancient. Baba Taher songs were originally read in Pahlavi (Middle Persian), as well as Luri and Hamadani dialects, taking their present form in the course of time. The quatrains of Baba Taher have a more amorous and mystical connotation rather than philosophical. Baba Taher’s poems are of the do-bayti (Couplet) style, a form of Persian quatrains, which some scholars regard as having affinities with Middle Persian verses, Classical Persian Music is based on Persian literature and Baba Taher’s poems are the weight that carries a major portion of this music. Baba Taher’s poetry is the basis for Dastgahe Shoor and in particular Gooshe of Dashtestani, Choopani and Deylaman.
Attributed to him is a work by the name Kalemat-e qhesaar, a collection of nearly 400 aphorisms in Arabic, which has been the subject of commentaries, one allegedly by Ayn-al-Qozμat Hamadani. An example of such a saying is one where Baba Taher ties knowledge with gnosis: Knowledge is the guide to gnosis, and when gnosis has come the vision of knowledge lapses and there remain only the movements of knowledge to gnosis; “knowledge is the crown of the gnostic, and gnosis is the crown of knowledge”; whoever witnesses what is decreed by God remains motionless and powerless.
His tomb, designed by Mohsen Foroughi, is located near the northern entrance of the city of Hamadan in Western Iran, in a park, surrounded by flowers and winding paths. The structure consists of twelve external pillars surrounding a central tower. It was reconstructed in 1970.
Avicenna was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age.
Of the 450 works he is known to have written, around 240 have survived, including 150 on philosophy and 40 on medicine.
His most famous works are The Book of Healing – a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine – a medical encyclopedia which became a standard medical text at many medieval universities and remained in use as late as 1650. In 1973, Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine was reprinted in New York.
TOMB OF ESTHER AND MORDECHAI
Another tourist attraction in Hamedan, Believed by some, this site was the house of biblical Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai. It is the most important pilgrimage site for Jews in the country.
In 1891, the tomb was described as consisting of an outer and inner chamber surmounted by a dome about 50 feet (15 m) high. The dome had been covered with blue tiles, but most of them had fallen away. A few tombs of worthy Jewish individuals were located within the outer chamber.
According to Stuart Brown, the site is more probably the sepulcher of Shushandukht, the Jewish consort of the Sasanian king Yazdegerd I (399–420 A.D.).
Another tradition first recorded during the middle ages places the graves of Esther and Mordechai in the Galilean archaeological site of Kfar Bar’am, close to the kibbutz of the same name, Bar’am, along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
The Ali Sadr Cave originally called Ali Saadr or Ali Saard (meaning cold) is the world’s largest water cave which attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is located in Ali Sadr Kabudarahang County about 100 kilometers north of Hamadan, western Iran. Because of the cave’s proximity to large cities such as Hamadan, it is a highly recommended destination for tourists from all corners of the world.
Alisadr is the world’s biggest water cave, where you sit in a boat and watch the view. This cave is located at 48°18’E 35°18’N, in the southern part of Ali Sadr village. The cave is entered at the side of a hill called Sari Ghiyeh which also includes two other caves called Sarab and Soubashi, each 7 and 11 kilometers from Ali Sadr Cave. Apparently, the water in Ali Sadr cave stems from a spring in Sarab.
In the summer of 2001, a German/British expedition surveyed the cave, finding to be 11 kilometers long. The main chamber of the cave is 100 meters by 50 meters and 40 meters high.
The cave walls can extend up to 40 meters high, and it contains several large, deep lakes. The cave has a river flowing through it and most travel through the cave system is done by boat. More than 11 kilometers of the cave’s water canals have been discovered so far. Some routes are 10 to 11 kilometers long and all lead to “The Island”, a centrally located large atrium.
Excavations and archeological studies of the cave have led to the discovery of ancient artworks, jugs and pitchers dating back to 12,000 years ago. Animals, hunting scenes and bows and arrows are depicted on the walls and passages of the exit section. These images suggest primitive man used the cave as their abode. The cave was known during the reign of Darius I (521-485 BC) which can be verified by an old inscription at the entrance of the tunnel. However, the knowledge of the existence of the 70-million-year-old cave was lost, and it was only rediscovered in 1963 by Iranian mountaineers.
Ganjnameh is an ancient inscription, 5 km south-west of Hamedan, on the side of Alvand Mountain in Iran. The inscriptions were carved in granite in two sections. The one on the left was ordered by Darius the Great (521-485 BC) and the one on the right by Xerxes the Great (485-65 BC). Both sections were carved in three ancient languages: Old Persian, Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Elamite. The inscriptions start with praise of the Zoroastrian God (Ahura Mazda) and describe the lineage and deeds of the mentioned kings.
Later generations who could not read the Cuneiform alphabets of the ancient Persian assumed that they contained the guide to an uncovered treasure; hence they called it Ganjnameh. The name literally means “treasure epistle”, but it has also been called “Jangnameh” whose literal translation is “war epistle”.
The translation of the text on the right plate, attributed to Xerxes, is:
“The Great God Ahuramazda, greatest of all the gods, who created the earth and the sky and the people; who made Xerxes king, and outstanding king as outstanding ruler among innumerable rulers; I the great king Xerxes, king of kings, king of lands with numerous inhabitants, king of this vast kingdom with far-away territories, son of the Achaemenid monarch Darius.”
Two modern contemporary carved tablets have been placed in the site’s parking lot with Persian explanation and its English translation.
HAMADAN STONE LION
Stone Lion is another historical monument. One part of the ‘Lions Gate’- sits on a hill where a Parthian era cemetery is said to have been located. When first built, this statue had a twin counterpart for which they both constituted the old gate of the city. During the Islamic conquest of Persia, the victorious Arabs referred to the gate as Bab ul-Asad. The gates were demolished in 931CE as the Deylamids took over the city. Mardāvij unsuccessfully tried transporting one of the lions to Ray. Angered by the failure to move them, he ordered them to be demolished. One lion was completely destroyed, while the other had its arm broken and pulled to the ground. The half demolished lion lay on its side on the ground until 1949, when it was raised again, using a supplemental arm that was built into it. In 1968 Heinz Luschey demonstrated that the lion is a Hellenistic sculpture and that the lion monument at Chaironeia (errected soon after 336 BC is comparable. His interpretation is that it was built by the orders of Alexander the Great to commemorate the death of his close companion Hephaestion in 324 BC.
Imamzadeh Abdollah is located in the square by the same name (Imamzadeh Abdollah Sq) in Hamadan. The structure is a 24 sided one and spherical in shape. Its facade has 12 arches and 12 supporting pillars. The lower portion of the structure, has a height of 90 cm. it has been constructed of hard stone after which brick has been used. Its dome, internally has been in crusted with colored limestone, above which is mirror-work. Within this structure are two tombs belonging to father and son by the names of Ahmed and Abdullah Ibn Ahmad, the descendants of Imam Musa.
DOME OF ALAVIAN
Alavian dome in Alavian garden is near Hamedan`s shrine of Abdollah. It`s one of the architecture masterpieces after Islam in Hamedan. It was recorded in national monument list on 26th of December on 1931. According to the technical panel building, the dome is one of the monuments belonging to the Seljuk period in the late 6th century which was built by Alavian Family, as masque. Then in later periods by creating a cellar in the basement, the house has become their shrine.
In the past, it had dome, that`s why it is named Alavian`s dome. Although by the passage of time, the dome has collapsed. On the other hand the people`s interest to Sadat and Imam Ali, and bury of two Alavi in this building was another reason to call it Alavian`s dome.
It is the valuable work of art, related to the medieval Islamic period ages 6 and 7 AH. It looks like the red dome of Maragheh which was built in the year 542 AH. Its interior dimension and rich decoration, eye-catching and mysterious, is somewhat similar to the building of Qazvin Heydarieh dome, built in the early 6th AH century.
It was built like a four-sided cube in size 8/12 in 5/12 and a height of 5/11. There are four columns, like towers. In four corners of the building, with 5/9m height, 2 meters diameter.
Each of towers has five triangular arches. Over the entrance and inside the rectangular box, there are beautiful decoration including intertwining flowers and plants.
In every corner, there are two arches and arch decorative façade in east-west sides, covered with a beautiful design. The dome`s sanctuary located on the south side with beautiful decoration has added to the richness of building. Few high skylights, adjoining the ceiling give a good lightening to the area. The small cellar is the tomb of two elders of Alavian`s family. The interior area is formed of six rooms with arches. Cube-trimmed graves covered with turquoise bricks are in the center.