A Guide to Hamedan

Hamedan is the capital of Hamedan Province in western Iran. It is a mountainous city located on the hillside of Alvand mountain range. As a matter of fact, this city is one of the oldest cities in the world. This is for the reason that, according to some researches, the city was home to one of the first Iranian settlements. Aside from its ancient and historical attractions, there are several natural and cultural sites to explore. Below, we will get into the points that has made this city an exceptional destination. Also, we are going to give you a special travel guide to Hamedan. Accordingly, we will be talking about Hamedan’s story, its special Handicrafts, local food, how to get around and more.

baba taher
Hamedan history

The Story of Hamedan

The story of Hamedan, according to the historian Herodotus, starts from when it became the capital of Medes. Medes are one of the most ancient and among the first Iranian settlements. Back then, Hamedan was on the route of Caravans traveling to Assyria. Later on, during the reign of Achaemenid, this city was no longer the capital. Yet, the Achaemenid kings choose Hamedan as their summer residency. Some of the main attractions of Hamedan such as the Ganjnameh Mountain Inscriptions belongs to this era. Notably, during those eras, Hamedan was known by the name Ecbatana especially by the Greeks.

The Stories of Massacres and Wars

During the following eras, Hamedan was a witness to many wars. First, it was ruined by Alexander the Great. Then, the city was captured by the Arabs for centuries. This era was the era of great thinker Ibn Sina and the famous Persian poet Baba Taher. Hamedan was then chosen as the capital by the Seljuq Turkish king for about 50 years during the 12th century. This city went through another destruction by Mongol forces. During the reign of Safavids, the city gained back its prosperity. But after the fall of this dynasty, the city again went through several massacres. Due to the strategic location of Hamedan, even in modern times it was highly damaged. The Iran-Iraq war was the last blow on this city. Today, Hamedan stands as the oldest cities in Iran with remarkable monuments and points of interests

What Makes Hamedan Exceptional?

Hamedan is a unique destination for archeology lovers. For one thing, Hegmataneh Mounds and Ganjnameh Complex with its ancient inscriptions are the top archeological sites in the city. This city is also the resting place of many influential people. Namely, the father of early modern medicine, Ibn Sina is laid to rest in Hamedan. Also, the mausoleum of the 11th century Persian Dervish poet, Baba Taher, is in downtown Hamedan. You can see the mixture of Persian architecture and literature by visiting this masterful mausoleum. As for the natural attractions of Hamedan, we can name the Ali Sadr Water Cave. Thousands of tourist come to Hamedan to boat through this vast mysterious cave. All in All, this was just some of the most exceptional attractions in Hamedan. Below, we are going to introduce more of these points of Interest and things to do in this city.

Need to Know

People & the cultural customs of Hamedan

Most people in Hamedan speak Persian with Hamedani accent. Notably, a minority of people speak Azeri or Turki language. The locals of Hamedan hold specific rituals for different occasions. In the start of Ramadan (the month when Muslims fast) people cook a special meal and set a table for the needy. This custom is known as Kolookhandazan. Overall, most of the interesting customs in Hamedan are related to Ramadan.  It is notable that Christian and Jews also reside in Hamedan and hold their own ceremonies.

What is the best time to travel?

As we mentioned earlier, Hamedan is one of the mountainous regions of Iran. With that in mind, the best time to visit Hamedan is during summer from July to September.  During these months, the weather is cool and refreshing.

weather during other seasons

  • Spring (from the end of March to June): The city is green and full of blossomed trees. There is still traces of cold weather during spring in Hamedan
  • Autumn (from October to December): The weather does not get much cold in the beginning of autumn.
  • Winter (from December to March): The city faces heavy rain and snowfalls during winter. If you have skiing plans, you can travel to Hamedan during these months.

What is the best way to get to Hamedan

You can get to Hamedan by seasonal international flights from Medina that land in Hamadan International Airport. There are also daily or weekly domestic flights from Tehran, Mashhad, and Kish to Hamedan. Plus, you can take intercity bus services to Hamedan. You can also rent a car or book a driver guide to drive you to Hamedan. If you need a private guide, driver or simply if you need to book domestic flights, trains or intercity buses, you can get the best deals through Travelopersia.

How to get around Hamedan

The bus services are available through different regions of Hamedan. However, the best way to get around the city is by taking a Taxi. Also, you can simply use the available Online Taxi Apps to get around the city or visit the nearby villages. Also, if you are looking for car rentals for your trips you can rent a car through Travelopersia.

stone lion
Ibn-e-Sina tomb

The City Map

Trip Ideas

Below, we will be talking about Hamedan’s natural, historical, and cultural attractions and things to do. Before getting to the historic attraction in Hamedan, we will be introducing the natural attractions near Hamedan. We start with the Ali Sadr Water Cave as one of the natural wonders in Iran. This mysterious cave is within 72 kilometers of Hamedan. This cave is one of the largest caves in the world where you can boat through its magical geological wonders. The Varkaneh Village is another nearby attraction of Hamedan (within 20 km). Everything in this ancient village is made of stones which amazes everyone.

More natural attractions near Hamedan

  • The one of a kind nature of Alvand Mountain as one of the main natural wonders of Hamedan and Iran. Alvand Mountain is a part of Alborz Mountain Range with a peak of 3575 m. Ganjnameh complex, Dasht-e Misha, and Takht-e Nader are on the route to the summit of Alvand.
  • Abshine Lagoon at the slopes of Alvand Mountain (within 10 kilometers of Hamedan). This lagoon is the best place for watching migratory and native birds, especially, during the spring.
  • Dasht-e Mishan on the way to Alvand Summit. After a Moderately Strenuous hike, you can reach this 1-hectare green plain.
  • Ganjnameh Waterfall as a part of Ganjnameh Complex (within 11 km of Hamedan)

 Now, let us get into the main attractions and things to do in Hamedan. You can find more information on these attractions by checking out our Blog’s posts.

Attractions in Hamedan

  • Avicenna Mausoleum as the symbol of Hamedan in the central square of the city. The philosopher and the father of early modern medicine, Ibn Sina is laid to rest here.
  • Baba Taher Mausoleum, the tomb of 11th century Persian Dervish poet. The turquoise dome of this mausoleum and its Persian architecture has caught the interest of many visitors.
  • Alavian Dome, a reminiscent of the 12th century Seljuk dynasty. Moreover, the stucco reliefs and brickwork of this monument is eye-catching and unique.
  • Hamedan Traditional Bazaar with various rows and sections belonging to Qajar era.
  • Ganjnameh Historical Complex where two ancient inscriptions are engraved on the mountain. These reliefs were commissioned by the Achaemenid kings, Darius I and Xerxes.
  • Hegmataneh complex with reminiscent of one of the first Iranian settlements known as Medes. Aside from Hegmataneh Archeological Mounds, Hegmataneh Museum and Church are of the other parts of this complex.

Things to do

  • Tarik Darreh Ski Resort which is the third top Ski Resort in Iran. The resort has 1 ski-lift and 2 chairlifts to the valleys of Alvand Mountain. Hamedan gets the best snow for skiing during winter. Grass skiing is also possible during other seasons.
  • Ganjnameh Tele-Cabin which takes you from Ganjnameh complex to the plains of Dasht-e Mishan.
  • Ganjnameh 1150 meters Summer Sledge Riding with the speed of 45 kilometers per hour
  • Rangin Kaman and Ganjnameh Amusement Parks

Local Food & Signature Dishes

There are a variety of stews, pottages, and Kebabs among the signature dishes of Hamedan. Some of these dishes are:

  • Sardashi Kebab which is the number one local dish of Hamedan. Accordingly, this Kebab is made with a mixture of potato and meat in a pot topped with tomatoes.
  • Bozbash Stew which is lamb soup with red or white beans, green vegetables, and special herbs.
  • Yakhni Stew with main ingredients of onion, meat, potato, and lemon.
  • Kachi Pottage which is a thick soup with lentils, yogurt, and grout.

You can try these signature dishes and other Persian food in most of the restaurants there. Here is a list of hand-picked Restaurants and Cafes.  As edible souvenirs, you can find many sweets such as Baslogh, maple syrup, Gaz, and different types of jams.

Handicraft & Souvenirs

The most famous handicraft of Hamedan is pottery. The antiquity of the art of pottery in Hamedan dates back to about 7000 years ago. It is worth noting that the city of Laljin in Hamedan is most famous for the works of pottery. Other significant handicraft  are:

  • Leather works
  • Haft Rang or Seven Color tiling and ceramics
  • Woodworks
  • Inlay work
  • Jewelry making
  • Kilim ( a special kind of rug)
  • Giveh ( a kind of handwoven shoes)

You can purchase these handicrafts as souvenirs while exploring Hamedan and its adjoining villages.