We always bid farewell to a city at sunset to greet the sunrise in the next city, hence we always hit the road in the darkness of the night. From Sanandaj, we headed towards Hamedan, and our first visit was to the Ali Sadr Cave.
We reached the cave entrance at 8 PM. Setting up our tent, the cold weather made our sleeping bags insufficiently warm. We endured the night until morning, moving towards the cave entrance with the first sign of sunlight.
One of the rarest water caves globally, a relic from the Jurassic period, showcasing the sheer artistry of nature. Its breathtaking grandeur attests to the divine craftsmanship of existence.
I consider myself among the luckiest individuals to have navigated this enchanting cave alone, rowing a boat across its waters, akin to tears streaming down its eyes. Millions of rock forms and salt clusters, resembling clusters of grapes, adorned with myriad awe-inspiring colors beyond imagination.
Reflecting on my experiences of traveling through Iran, life has been kind to offer me such majestic farewells. The excitement surged as I encountered the city of Hamedan. Expecting a considerable emphasis on the preservation of ancient artifacts, my assumptions were profoundly mistaken.
If I were to candidly describe the people of Hamedan and their culture, I must say it was the worst city I’ve visited in Iran. Hostile and vindictive individuals, where the concept of hospitality seemed non-existent. Simply put, if you find yourself on the edge of a precipice, never ask a person from Hamedan for help, as they will undoubtedly push you into the abyss.
Another aspect that caught my attention was their rather unwelcoming attitude toward your partner. Put plainly, if you travel to this city, never leave your partner alone for even a moment, as you might lose them forever.
Lastly, their disregard for their historical artifacts was disheartening. Placing the tombs of their luminaries in the midst of their busiest and dirtiest squares, with relentless car traffic and the jarring sound of horns, a tomb that conveys no meaning but chaos.
This Jewish tomb, the second holiest and significant pilgrimage site for Jews after Jerusalem, has a romantic tale. King Khosrow falls in love with a Jewish girl named Ziba, meaning star, for her star-like beauty. In this tomb, Esther and her uncle Mordecai are laid to rest.
The significance of this tomb is heightened due to its location in a Muslim country like Iran, making it highly secure with restricted access. Yet, like many other peculiar wonders, it welcomed me.
After numerous arrangements, we finally entered this strange and mysterious sanctuary. Passing through the communal hall and joining them through a stone door with a vault resembling a safe lock, we entered the tomb of Esther and Mordecai. An old Jewish guardian told me that if it’s your first visit, any wish you have will come true. I touched the corners of Esther’s wooden coffin, closed my eyes, and made a wish. The old man muttered prayers under his breath, hand over his chest in a sign of respect. Interestingly, my wish came true.
The tomb of this 4th-century poet, renowned for his two-line verses, was initially built during the Seljuk period. Due to extreme age, it underwent a reconstruction during the Pahlavi era, blending 7th and 8th-century architecture with contemporary elements.
The tomb of Avicenna, the Iranian philosopher, scientist, and physician, centrally located in Hamedan. This renowned tomb, devoid of any tranquility, echoes with the harsh and continuous honking of cars.
The structure of this tomb was initially commissioned by the Qajar king’s grandson, later rebuilt as a modern architectural masterpiece during the Pahlavi era. Inspired by the Gonbad-e Qabus tower and featuring gardens influenced by Iranian gardens, constructed with rugged and rough stones from Mount Alvand, symbolizing ancient Iranian palaces. Ten columns represent ten centuries after Avicenna, and twelve columns symbolize the twelve sciences mastered by Avicenna.
Everything was perfect if only the sounds of car horns were replaced with the whispers of birds and the rustle of leaves dancing in the wind.
This city, buried in the soil, was the first capital of Iran. A city with seven walls, each painted in the color of a planet. Founded by the Aryan people during the Median era in the 17th century BCE, it became the first capital of the Persian Empire.
Throughout its history and under the rule of its kings, the city underwent various changes and uses, but what fascinated me most were its unique features, including the precise and organized layout of the city during that era, unparalleled and unprecedented. Discovering artifacts indicating an advanced water distribution network in this historic city at a time when many so-called first-world countries had no civilization.
As part of our customary travel ritual, we bid farewell to this historic city at the Ganjnameh Waterfall at sunset, facing inscriptions left by Darius and Xerxes, and set off towards the city of Kermanshah and its legendary tales of love.
Hamadan, also known as Hamedan, is the capital city of the Central District in Hamadan County, within the Hamadan province of Iran. As of the 2006 National Census, the city had a population of 473,149 residing in 127,812 households. Subsequent to the 2011 census, the population increased to 525,794, with 156,556 households counted.
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