"Iran's Oldest City"


River Valley in the Zagros Mountains
River Valley in the Zagros Mountains

Hamedan the Province, area:
19,445 sq. kilometres

1700 metres above sea level

Approx: 1.9 million

summer: 13C to 22C
winter: - 4C to - 33C

Hamedan province is situated in the middle of western Iran. It has long and severe winters from September to May with a great deal of snow; however, in summer its pleasant climate offers visitors a welcome break from the soaring temperatures elsewhere. The province is famous for its raisins (1500 hectares of vineyards) and in the Persian rug trade ranks second only to Kerman.
The provincial capital, also called Hamedan, is located 343 kilometres south west of Tehran at the foot of Mt Alvand (3,580m) in the Zagros range, at an altitude of 1700 metres (5,577 feet) and dominates the wide, fertile plain of the upper Qareh Su River.


Hamedan, ancient Ecbatana, is one of the oldest cities in the world, and according to legend (Ferdowsi), Hamedan was founded by the mythical King Jamshid.

It occupies a key site on the road, which even in antiquity, linked Mesopotamia to the Iranian plateau. It was here that the first Median capital, Ecbatana (Place of Assembly), was founded in 673 BC
In 549 BC Cyrus the Great defeated the last Median king, Astyages, and Ecbatana became the summer residence of the Achaemenian Dynasty court, well away from the torrid heat of Susa. At the height of its glory, Hamedan was described as one of the most opulent cities. It had splendid palaces, buildings plated with precious metals, and seven layers of town walls, of which the inner two were coated in gold and silver.

The glorious riches naturally attracted hoards of invading armies and after Alexander's conquest (331 BC), Ecbatana lost much of its former importance, although it remained a staging post between the plateau and Mesopotamia.

In the 12th century, Hamedan briefly became the capital of the Seljuk Dynasty, but it was destroyed a century later during the Mongol invasion, and again by Tamerlane's armies in 1386. Because of its position, Hamedan was also severely hit by the wars between the Ottoman and Safavid empires. The successive sackings have spared few of Hamedan's ancient monuments; however, some valuable finds from the ancient town have come to light, and much remains unexplored.


A few sites from Hamedan
and its outskirts :

star Hamedan's Places of Interest star
star Around Hamedan star


Return to top

Copyright shall at all times remain vested in the Author. No part of the work shall be used, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the Author's express written consent.

Copyright © 2003 K. Kianush, Art Arena