Hamedan – City of Water Caves
Hamedan is believed to be one of the oldest Iranian cities and one of the world’s greatest ancient cities, is the capital of Hamedan Province of Iran. “Amazing” is the only word that can be used to describe the beauty of this mystical place. It’s the distinct nature of the ancient city and its historic sites attract tourists during the summer. Hamedan’s main drawcard for visitors is its nearness to the Ali Sadr Cave -which is one of the world’s largest water caves in the world.
Hamedan is located approximately 360 kilometres to the southwest of Tehran, which is the capital of Iran. Sitting on a high plain of 1,850 meters above sea level, the highlight of this city is its green mountainous area in the foothills of the 3,574-meter Alvand Mountain.
Located in the midwest part of Iran, Hamedan is cool during the month of August but freezing cold from December to March. In the summer the weather is mild, pleasant, and mostly sunny. The vast plains of the north and northeast of the Hamedan province are influenced by strong winds, that almost last throughout the year. This makes Hamedan city one of the coldest cities in Iran.
History of Hamedan
Hamedan is an old city which dates back to the late 9th century BC. The Medes were the first people who settled in this area and established the city. Ecbatana is the ancient name for Hamedan and was also the capital of the Median Empire. Today, the site of Hegmataneh Hills in this city is where you can still see the oldest days of Hamedan. After Medes, the Parthian Empire took control over this city. Although Ctesiphon was the capital city during that empire, but they also used Ecbatana as their summer capital and residence of the Parthian rulers. Since the city had good weather in summer, during the Sassanid era the summer palaces were constructed in this city so the kings could live this part of the year in their cold and nice palaces in Ecbatana.
Hamedan had always been an interesting city for the kings in different eras. However, during the battle of Nahavand in 633, Hamedan fell into the hands of the Muslim Arabs. It was then a new era for this city but not so interesting in the history of this city because it was severely damaged and suffered in this time. After that, it was in the 11th century when the Seljuks chose Ecbatana as their capital. Therefore, they shifted their capital from Baghdad to Hamedan.
The city of Hamedan has seen many ups and downs in history. When Timurids invaded the city of Hamedan, they destroyed most parts of the city. And thereafter, in the 18th century, the city was surrendered to the Ottomans. But due to ‘Nader Shah e Afshar’, one of the most powerful rulers of the nation, Hamedan was cleared of invaders with the peace treaty between Iran and the Ottomans and the city was returned to Iran.
Hamedan stands on the Silk Road which was the ancient network of trade routes, and the city continues to attract strong commerce. During the World War I, the city was occupied by Russian and Turko – German army forces and later by the British; finally, the city was taken control by the Iranian government at the end of the war in the year 1918.
Hamedan Demographics, Language and Religion
The population of Hamedan is close to 700,000 people. Kurdish, Azeri, Luri, and Persian languages are spoken by people. Azeri is more popular in northern and eastern regions and Kurdish is mostly used in the western region. In the central parts like Hamedan, Persian is commonly used. Most of the populations are Persians with a sizeable minority of Azeris and a small group of Jews.
Customs and traditions in Hamedan
Persians followed the median fashion i.e., the stole, royal tiara high and erect encircled with a diadem. And the women wore clothes that cover the complete body. The kings received their jewels from their subjects paid as divine reverence. They had a zeal for archery and horsemanship.
Special Local foods of Hamedan
Like many other cities in Iran, Hamedan also has its own local foods. If you have tasted Ghorme Sabzi and Abgoosht before, now you can taste a mix of these two dishes in Hamedan which is called “Abgoosht Ghormeh”.
“Qooreh Bademjan” is another special cuisine in Hamedan which is a mix of eggplant, Ghorra (which is a sour premature grape), meat, tomato, and other spices. It is mostly eaten with rice.
Moreover, you can eat different Aush in Hamedan. Aush is a thick soup/stew, which is usually served hot and is part of Iranian cuisine. The popular ones in Hamedan are “Carrot and Oat Aush”, “Amaj Aush” which is a traditional cuisine cooked with special vegetables, such as scallion, onion, lentils, eggs, garlic, and Amaj which is a local dough in this city. These cuisines are so nutritious and delicious. You should taste them in the best restaurants in Hamedan. However, you can always eat Kabab in all the cities around Iran.
Hamedan Souvenir and Handicrafts
Hamedan has always been well known for handicrafts made of wood and leather, ceramic works, traditional glasses, Kilims and beautiful carpets. Most of the foreign and domestic tourists purchase the local handicrafts.
The city also has a traditional bread which is called Komaj. Most tourists like to buy this traditional bread as a souvenir to their friends and family.
Hamedan Tourist Attractions
It’s the world’s largest water cave which attracts thousands of visitors every year and one of the highly recommended destinations for tourists from all corners of the world. Without a doubt, this cave is the most popular tourist attraction in Hamedan.
Baba Taher was a great and well-known poet in Iran who was born in Hamedan. To honour him and his works, a beautiful Monument with poetry on the walls has been made on his tomb. It’s definitely a must see tourist attraction in Hamedan.
Tomb of Esther and Mordechai
A tomb believed by some to hold the remains of the biblical Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai. It is considered as the most important pilgrimage site for Jews in Iran.
It is a religious tourist attraction in Hamedan which is located in the square with the same name.
Alavian Dome is one of the historical tourist attractions in Hamedan which is very close to the centre of the city. It is a great sample of the architecture and tore modelling after the Islamic era.
Qorban Historical Tower is one of the tourist attractions in Hamedan which is located in the old texture of the city. The tower has a dodecagon shape and considered to be a tower tomb.
An ancient inscription carved in granite describing the lineage and deeds of the kings.
Where to Stay in Hamedan?
Hamedan is a beautiful place to visit, historical and cultural significance in the city of Hamedan alone stands strong as a reason. There are many great hotels in Hamedan which offer the best services to their guests. If you would like to stay in a luxury hotel in Hamedan you can choose Amiran 2 Hotel which is a 4-star, and also the newest hotel in Hamedan. If you would rather choose a more affordable hotel in Hamedan, Khatan Hotel might be a good option. It is a 3-star mid-range hotel which is located in the centre of the city, very close to most of the tourist attractions in Hamedan.
If you would like to book a hotel in Hamedan or book a tour to Alisadr Cave and visit other tourist attractions in Hamedan, you can always consult with us in NCA Travels.
How to book a Hotel in Hamedan?
To find and book your perfect Hotel in Hamedan or any other destination in Iran go to Iran Hotel Booking page.