We were expecting to be told that we were in the wrong place but we were told to have a sit instead. After a while, a lady brought a book titled “Tourism Prospect of Hamedan Province”. It was a 190 page hardcover book telling you everything you need to know about Hamedan Province. I thought that we were going to have to buy the whole book when we only needed a simple map of the city pin pointing the places of interest. The lady told us some of the important places for us visit and gave us a map and the book to take with us. The book was great as it gave us some history behind the places we decided to visit, some of which I have included with the photos below.
SHIR-E-SANGI (STONE LION) MONUMENT
>> The Shir-e-Sangi monument. Alexander the Great ordered for this Stone Lion to be carved to commemorate the death of his close companion Hephaestion in 324 BC. This Stone Lion was located beside one of the gates into the city as a talisman protecting the city against evil, cold and disasters. There were actually two of these guarding both sides of the gate. Unfortunately, the gates was demolished in 319AH when the Deymalids took over the city. This surviving Stone Lion is now placed in a middle of the Sang-e-Shir park in Hamedan. Its twin was destroyed as it was too heavy to be moved.
HEGMANATEH ANCIENT CITY:
>> Here we are at the Hegmataneh Ancient City (Ticket price: 5,000 Rial each). This ancient city is situated in Hamedan city surrounded by residential and commercial buildings. This ancient city, covering some 40 hectares, was said to be the capital of Medes and later dynasties. Some of the sites has been excavated, others are still work in progress. The weather is very hot and it is a long walk from one end to the other.
>> Restoration work in progress at the Hafte-Tir Square (ie. first stop in our long walk around the ancient city).
These pics were taken at the Central site where excavation is currently in progress. The archaeological team discovered a set of 17.5 x 17.5 metres square shaped building with a depth of 2-5 metres from the surface. The buildings have been constructed symmetrically in two parallel rows and all the houses are of the same plan.
>> Here we are at the Hegmataneh Museum. A welcome break from the heat outside.
“An old skeleton” excavated in 2003 in the historical hill of Kurijan.
Burial style: Foetal (common style in the late 2nd Millenium and beginning of the 1st Millenium BC). Buried in a west-east direction.
Accompanied objects: A carapace in the skeleton’s hand, two big earthernwares and a smaller one used for keeping food.
>> Replicas of the Ganjnameh Inscriptions. This tablet belongs to Darius and the one below to his son, Xerxes. The inscriptions were written in 3 languages (Persian, Elamite and Babylon) each in 20 lines of cuneiform alphabets running from left to right. The actual inscription is on a large rock located 5km south west of Hamedan. It is located on an important stretch of the ancient Royal road. It was a safe and busy road in ancient times and as it led to Babylon, it was also considered a sacred road and therefore was an ideal site for the kings of the dynasty to remind passers-by of their ancestors and their glorious power.
We did not visit the actual site itself but if you did, apparently you can get a nice view of Ganjnameh waterfall and valleys.
Some of the artifacts on display at the museum >>
>> Gregorian church. This is the last place of interest located in the ancient city.
>> View of the inside of the church and the altar.
Stone flooring up close >>
>> Saffron ice-cream, not something you come across often. Tasted yummy!
AVECINNA MEMORIAL BUILDING / TOMB:
After touring Hamedan city, we made our way towards Bijar. Here are some of the views en route.
>> Pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.
>> It’s 5.30pm and we are 15km away from Bijar.
>> View of the city of Bijar. We made our way towards the city centre and went in search of a restaurant to have dinner. We did come across some restaurants but most were closed. One was open but the whole restaurant was reserved for a wedding celebration. Hungry, we made our way to a park in the middle of town. Here, we asked a local guy if he could point us in the right direction. He did more that point; he hopped into his car and signaled for us to follow him. When we arrived at the restaurant located on a busy street,
he went in search of a parking space for us. Once we were parked, he showed us the restaurant before driving off. Not before we thanked him, of course. In awe at the hospitality of Iranians. A nice end to an already amazing day.