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Hamadan is one of the oldest centers of civilization. The city has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. In the 7th century BC the city, by that time known as Ecbatana, was the capital city of the Medes. After an alliance between the Medes and the Persians, the city was renamed to Hagmatana and became the first capital of the Persian Empire.

Unfortunately, there is little left of these glorious ancient times. However, there is a lot in Hamadan that's worthwhile, so the city attracts a lot of visitors, most of them from Tehran.

Stone Lion

The Stone Lion is one of the remains of the ancient days. In Persian it is called Sang- Shir. It has been built by the craftsmen of Alexander the Great.

Baba Taher, who lived in the 11th century, is one of the great poets of Iran. His songs and poems are still very popular. His mausoleum, that looks a bit like a rocket, was built in 1970. We were not very excited about the outside, but what happened inside was something very wonderful. Here was a man who recited some of Baba Taher's poems and sung some of his songs. So beautiful, we could listen to this man for hours.

Baba Taher mausoleum

Avicenna mausoleum

There is another rocket-like mausoleum in Hamadan. This belongs to the 10th century poet, scientist, philosopher and physician Abu Ali Sina. In the West, we know the man as Avicenna.

Among a lot of other things, he wrote a medical encyclopedia that has been mandatory reading for every medical student in Europe until the 19th century. His works as a poet and philosopher are still studied today.

There is a small Jewish community in Hamadan. Their synagoge is also the shrine of Esther, the Jewish wife of King Xerxes, and her uncle Mordechai. Although, some people claim it isn't Esther who is buried here, but another Jewish Queen by the name of Shushan Dokht.

Inside this small building you can see the only Hebrew inscriptions in all of Iran.

Hebrew inscriptions

Waterfall in the Ganh Nameh valley

Close to Hamadan is the valley of Ganj Nameh. This is a very pleasant valley with a waterfall and a lot of teahouses. It is very popular with the people from Hamadan.

The oldest rock carvings in Hamadan can be seen here. The inscriptions belong to Darius and his son Xerxes. In three languages it is written that Ahura Mazda is a great God and Darius and Xerxes are great Kings. The translation of the text, in Persian and English, can be read near the parking place.

Inscriptions by Darius and Xerxes

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