Some people believe that whatever was there, first, comes with something wonderful. Your first child, for instance, your first salary or the first car you bought all had a different sensation, a sort of feeling that set those events apart from the rest of your life experiences.
For your homeland, your special share of the universe -if we agree upon it having an individual soul- its first social center, the first civilized gathering place, or perhaps its very first Capital could be counted as such impression.
The firsts have always dared to take the lead. Lead the following what-ever to places and positions they otherwise won’t go.
For Iran, Hamadan is that first. The name means where they (people) would pace together, in other better understandable words; Where they would come together. Who? People who decided to establish the first dynasty of Aryan Iran.
The history of Iran, the one that with all its good and evil runs through the blood of Persians, even now, began when the Medes established their foundations by electing Deioces as king in 727 B.C.
Hamadan is the first official capital of Iran and therefore has a rich past. Hamadan was an example of urban planning for other dynasties of Iran, constructed with a radical city plan like how Paris is today. Hamadan, by uniting almost the main parts of the Iranian plateau, took it under its wings, gave people a new identity, and held them as one country, one nation. The power that Hamadan gained was then transferred to all parts of Iran.
Cyrus the Great, who has the “first” human right Cylinder in his name and also is the “first” to establish the world’s largest universal-government was the half-blood prince. A Persian father and a Median mother, so, though, Pasargadae was the capital of his reign, he never forgot his maternal side and kept Hamadan as the winter capital for his government. This custom was kept alive during the Achaemenid dynasty and Hamadan continued to maintain its political importance.
In the post-Islamic period, Hamadan remained a cultural city. Many governments with Persian roots always paid attention to it due to the existing urban structure in Hamadan.
The residence and tomb of the greatest physician and philosopher known in Iran and the world, Avicenna, is in this city and this is a sign of Hamadan’s prosperity and relative stability throughout Iran’s history.
Apart from historical issues and political events, geographically Hamadan is a very beautiful city. Although it is one of the high altitude cities in Iran and has a cold climate, the view of the surrounding mountains and their amazing and unique slopes impress any visitor.
The people of Hamadan are mostly Muslims, but from ancient times, from the Achaemenid period, many Jews lived in this city. The tomb of Esther and Mordecai is one of the main shrines of Iranian Jews.
Hamadan is rich in handicrafts as well; meaning that not only the quality of their products are high but also they are diversified. Pottery, stone carving, glassware, fur clothing, wooden handicrafts, and Carpet weaving are some examples of Hamadan’s handicraft industry.
The population of this city is around 554000 and its area is approximately 62 square kilometers. Hamadan has many places to visit with its kind and warm-hearted people who welcome all sorts of guests. It is one of the cities in Iran that you cannot plan to just travel to for a day or two:
Ali Sadr Cave is one of the most mysterious and at the same time mesmerizing caves in the world, which is located 75 km northwest of Hamadan, near the village of Ali Sadr. This cave is also the largest water cave in the world where you could easily visit through a boat.
Some parts of this cave have not yet been explored therefore, its exact length is unknown. After entering the cave, reaching the blue part, and boarding the boat, you can go into the corridors and halls, pass through the stalagmites and stalactites and enjoy its wonders.
Tomb of Baba-Taher
Baba-Taher was one of the Iranian poets and mystics who lived in the fourth and fifth centuries AH. Most of Baba-Taher’s poems are composed in the form of couplets and are so humble that they could easily reflect his character. The first tomb was an octagonal brick tower dating back to the Seljuk period and was continued in the Pahlavi reign.
The tomb of Avicenna is built in one of the main squares of Hamadan, kind of like Arc de Triomphe in Paris, all Hamadan roads lead to this square as this city is built in a circular form. Avicenna is famous for his medical sciences but other than that he was a master in mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, geography, philosophy, and logic. The green space, the gardens, and the fountains of the entrance courtyard of his Mausoleum are reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Hamadan Traditional Market
Want to know a city? Walk where its people walk, go shopping where its people sell and buy their needs. The traditional market of every ancient city provides such life experiences that you could not find elsewhere. Most parts of this market were built during the Qajar period; But the oldest part of it is Golshan Palace, which belongs to the Safavid era.
Hamadan was located alongside the Silk Road, therefore, traders from Asian, European, and American countries usually came and went to its caravanserais and engaged in trading. Historical texture, beautiful and eye-catching architecture has caused the traditional bazaar of Hamadan to be registered in the list of national monuments of Iran.
One of the most important written documents of the Achaemenid period is known as Ganjnameh. located at the foot of Alvand Mountain, these inscriptions, which are from Darius the Great and his son Xerxes reign, are in ancient Persian with translations of Elamite and Babylonian languages written in cuneiform. Like other Achaemenid inscriptions, they start with the name of God (Ahuramazdah), introducing Iran and its emperor, and end with a prayer.
Tomb of Esther and Mordechai
This tomb is the burial place of Esther and Mordecai. The story that corresponds to the Greek historians and the Torah about Esther and Mordecai is that once upon a time, King Xerxes marries a Jewish girl named Esther, who was the niece of one of the courtiers, Mordecai. Through this marriage, the Jews gain a lot of influence in the court of Xerxes. Meanwhile, a man named Haman fears the growing influence of the Jews and finds a way to kill Mordecai and the Jews. But Esther intervenes and saves them. For more information, watch “One Night with the King”.
The Dome of the Alawites
The dome of the Alawites of Hamadan is one of the masterpieces left from the architecture of the Islamic period in Iran. This building dates back to the sixth century AH and the late Seljuk period. This building, which was built by the Alawite family, was initially a mosque, but later, with the addition of a crypt in the basement, it became their family tomb. The building is a rectangular cube 12.8 meters long, 12.5 meters wide, and 11.5 meters high on a platform 1.2 meters high.
Ecbatana hill can be considered the widest ancient hill in Iran because its area reaches 30 hectares and is the location of an underground city that is 3000 years old. This hill is located in the northern part of Hamadan and the old part of the city. The first time in 1913, a group of French archaeologists came to Iran and studied it scientifically and carefully. Among the artifacts discovered in Ecbatana Hill, the following can be mentioned:
- A golden tablet called Ariaramnes tablet, which is the oldest artifact discovered on this hill, which is now happily housed in Berlin Museum in Germany.
- Darius the Great’s Golden and Silver Tablets. The text of both tablets is the same and is written in three languages: Ancient Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. With the discovery of these two tablets, it became clear that Darius the Great, in addition to Persepolis and Susa, had also built a huge palace in Hamadan.
- A silver jar of king Xerxes’ and many other valuable artifacts related to the ancient city of Hegmataneh were discovered here on this ancient hill.