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province, governorship, and city located in the Zagros region of western Persia.

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Volume XI, Fascicle 6, pp. 595-627

HAMADĀN , province, governorship, and city located in the Zagros region of western Persia.


Hamadān is one of the western provinces of Persia, situated to the southwest of Tehran between latitudes 33°59’ and 35°48’ north and longitudes 47°34’ and 49°36’ east. The city of Hamadān (the capital of the province) is located at 37°47’ N and 48°30’ E, at an altitude of 1,645 m on the eastern slope of the Alvand massif (q.v.; alt. 3,571 m; the Mount Orontes of the Classical sources). In the National Physical Plan (Ṭarḥ-e kālbodi-e melli), which divides the country into 10 regions, it is identified as a part of the central Zagros sub-region (Moʾassasa-ye ʿāli-e pažuheš, p. 1). The province of Hamadān is bounded, clockwise, by the provinces of Zanjān and Qazvin to the north, the Markazi (Central) Province to the east, the province of Lorestān to the south, and the provinces of Kermānšāh and Kordestān to the west. According to the last national census (1996), Hamadān Province covers an area of 19,493 km2, constituting about 1.2 percent of the country’s total area, with a population of 1,672,957 (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān).

According to the national census of 1956, the present province of Hamadān used to be part of the province of Kermānšāhān, which was composed of the governorships (farmān-dāri) of Hamadān, Tuyserkān, Malāyer, and Nehāvand. The governorship of Hamadān had a total population of 695,283, of which 178,949 lived in eight cities (Zanjāni and Raḥmāni, p. 23). It was upgraded to the general governorship (farmān-dāri-e koll) of Hama-dān in 1966, but in the following censuses it was promoted to the province (ostān) of Hamadān and its area underwent minor modifications: 20,172 km2 in 1966 and 1976, 19,445 km2 in 1986, and 19,493 km2 in 1996 (Zanjāni and Raḥmāni, p. 6).

The internal division of this province within its present boundaries is shown in Table 1 (Zanjāni et al., p. 7).

Mountains. Hamadān is a mountainous region, located on the eastern flanks of the Zagros range, which stretches from the northwest to the southeast of Persia. The highest point, Alvand Kuh (q.v.), reaches an altitude of 3,580 m above sea level. A mass of granite and diorite, Alvand Kuh extends across the southern and eastern parts of the city of Hamadān and is its most prominent landmark. There are at least 12 other peaks in the Alvand range of more than 3000 m altitude. The lowest point of the province, where the river Gāmāsiāb flows out of the governorship of Nahāvand, descends to the altitude of 1,420 m (Jaʿfari, pp. 77-79; Faraji, p. 1290; Fāṭemi, p. 2). An interesting feature of the Hamadān–Kermānšāh area as far as the Bušehr region is that “the folds are extremely regular, straight in form and parallel in strike, and relatively packed together” (Fisher, p. 17).

Figure 1. The Province of Hamadān, based on Sāzmān-e naqšabardāri-e kešvar, Aṭlas-e melli-e Irān, Tehran, 1994; and Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, Farhang-e ābādihā-ye kešvar XXII, Tehran, 1970.

Other major mountains include Mount Garu (3,316 m) in the Halilān rural district south of Nehāvand, forming the natural frontier between Hamadān and Lorestān; Mount Lašgardar (2,928 m) to the southeast of Malāyer; Mount Ḵāngurmaz (2,868 m) in the Korzānrud rural district, northwest of Tuyserkān; Mount Siāh-darra (2,818 m) northwest of Tuyserkān; Mount Safid Kuh (2,475 m) in the rural district of Darjazin-e ʿOlyā, northeast of Hama-dān; Mount Garmā and Mount Sarmā in Malāyer; Mount Almuqulāḵ (2,997 m) between Asadābād and Bahār, 36 km from Hamadān; and Mount Buqāti in the Sard-rud district of Kabudar-āhang, about 85 km northeast of Hamadān. Finally, the Ḵaraqān range forms the natural frontier between Hamadān and the provinces of Qazvin and Zanjān (Fāṭemi, p. 2; Razmārā, Farhang V, p. 480; Jaʿfari, pp. 77-79, 120, 212, 232-34, 318, 342, 429, 472).

The governorships of Hamadān and Tuyserkān are perched on the north and south sides of the Alvand range, respectively. The plains are mainly situated in the northeast and east, extending from Hamadān to Āvaj (in the province of Qazvin) and also in the south, between Tuyserkān and Malāyer.

Climate. Hamadān’s climate is characterized by fairly long, cold winters (between 120 and 140 days of frost) and mild summers. The weather becomes gradually milder as we move from the northern highlands and plateaus towards the south. The northern valleys and vast plains are also exposed to northern and northwesterly winds in the winter, blowing with an average speed of 4 m per second. They are generally humid and bring about rainfall (Razmārā, Farhang V, p. 480; Faraji, p. 1290). The west-east winds blow in the autumn and the local winds (like the blind wind of Asadābād) are brought about by difference in air pressure due to differences in altitudes.

The temperature varies between minus 32 Celsius in winter to 39 Celsius in summer, with average temperatures between minus 4 (in December) and 25 (in July). Mountain tops are snow-covered from six to eight months of the year.

Precipitation has fluctuated between 280 and 420 mm in recent years, with an average of 315 mm. This has enabled Hamadān to sustain a relatively prosperous agriculture. The rainfall is almost equally divided into two periods of six months from November until April. There is practically no rain from June to September (Eṣlāḥ ʿArabāni, p. 1291; Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, 1999, pp. 12, 14, 16, 18, 20).

Rivers. Hamadān’s rivers are generally fed by the snow accumulated on the mountains and the rainfall in the wet seasons. During the summer the river beds, except for major rivers such as Gāmāsiāb and Siminarud, are entirely dry or reduced to mountain streams. The Alvand highlands form the watersheds, and Hamadān’s rivers may be divided into those flowing north and east of Alvand Kuh and those flowing south of it.

Rivers flowing north and east of the Alvand range are mostly seasonal and their discharge fluctuates enormously. The main rivers: 1) The Talvār River begins its course on the slopes of Kuh-e Safid mountain in the northwest of the province and is a tributary of the Safidrud (called Qezel Üzen before reaching Gilān) River, the longest river in Persia (765 km), which flows into the Caspian Sea at Ḥasan Kiāda. 2) The Qaračāy (or Siāhrud) River, also known as Quričāy in some parts of the province, begins its course on the highlands of the Zāḡa Pass and Yāl-darra, between Malāyer and the city of Hamadān, and passes through the northern valleys of the Alvand, where it is joined by a number of other rivers, including Siminarud, Ḵāku, and Farjin; thereafter, it continues its easterly course, passes through Kurijān in the Ḥājilu rural district, irrigating farmlands, and eventually flows into Lake Qom in the Central Province (Razmārā, Farhang V, pp. 480-81; Jaʿfari, pp. 153, 273-75, 329-31, 340; Qarāguzlu, pp. 20-22).

Rivers flowing south and southwest from the highlands of the Alvand range are more permanent. The principal rivers : 1) The Gāmāsiāb or Gāmāsāb, the name of Karḵa River in its upper course, is one of the longest rivers in Persia. Its headwaters, Sarāb-e Gāmāsiāb, are in the valleys of the Alvand Kuh in the southeast of the governorship of Nehāvand. After passing through the plains of Nehāvand and irrigating farmlands, it is joined by the Malāyer River and, further down, by the Qelqelrud River; then, crossing the Zagros Mountains, in a southwest direction, receives the name Karḵa and eventually joins the Kārun River. 2) The main sources of the Qelqelrud River are in the southern slopes of the Alvand Kuh; it is formed by the joining of several smaller rivers and streams before it flows into the Gāmāsiāb (Keyhān, I, pp. 74-76; Jaʿfari, pp. 336-37, 414-17; Razmārā, Farhang V, pp. 480-81; Schwartz and Miquel, p. 653).

Irrigation. The area is well supplied with water resources, provided by the Alvand Kuh. Besides the rivers, there are some 1,524 old qanāts (man-made subterranean canals carrying water from mountainsides to villages and farms). 3,027 springs, 6,172 deep wells, and 5,387 semi-deep wells are actually being exploited (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, p. 21). Hamadān is fairly well supplied with underground water, especially in the regions of Bahār, Qahā-vand, and Nehāvand (Faraji, p. 1294).

The most important dam is Ekbātān (formerly Šahnāz) Dam, which was constructed in 1963 on the Yālfān River in the ʿAbbāsābād valley at about 10 km to the southeast of Hamadān city. This dam has a reservoir of 12 million cubic meters and supplies some 2,400 liters of water per second, of which 2,100 liters go to agriculture and 300 liters are used for drinking (Desmet-Grégoire and Fontaine, p. 33). There are also some minor earth dams built for irrigation purposes, and several more are under construction (Faraji, p. 1295).

Vegetation and wildlife. In the past this region was mostly covered by natural forests (mainly oak) and woodlands, of which only a small part has remained, mostly in the valleys of Mount Alvand. This is estimated to add up to some 4.1 thousand hectares, compared to 905 thousand hectares of pastures, that is, almost 46 percent of the total area of the province; many are in the valleys and plateaus of the Alvand Kuh. More than half of these pastures are of poor quality, however (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, p. 179).

On the other hand, the total area of agricultural land is approximately 950 thousand hectares, including some 630 thousand hectares for dry farming (Fāṭemi, p. 123), which accounts for another 48 percent of Hamadān’s total area. Only 6 percent of the province’s surface is left with no vegetation.

Many of the wild plants found here have pharmaceutical applications. Among them gavan, or goat’s thorn, which is very common in the valleys of the Alvand, is of significant economic value, as its gum, tragacanth (katirā), is extensively used in both medicine and industry (Fāṭemi, p. 34).

There are many scenic, grass-covered mountain valleys between the peaks, some with fountains flowing out and small lakes visited by migrating birds and other wildlife, forming semi-autonomous ecosystems. One such lake, Tālāb-e Āqgol, a seasonal marsh located some 20 km south of Malāyer, is visited every year for four to five months by between 10 to 20 thousand birds, such as geese, ducks, herons, cranes, aigrette, and other migrating birds on their way from the wetlands of Siberia and Scandinavia to warmer territories (Fāṭemi, p. 38).

There are also several wildlife reserves that are home to such birds of prey as royal eagles, golden eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, vultures and prey species such as partridges, wild fowl, hares, and rabbits, as well as larger mammals such as rams, wild goats, ibexes, wild boars, and predators such as wolves, foxes, jackals and hyenas. The predator-prey relationship seems, in general, according to the available data, to be fairly well balanced. The data for the years 1994-98 show no particular trends in the number of animals observed, except for a clear decline in the number of ducks and geese, from about 4,500 to about 2,200. The number of wolves, foxes, and jackals has remained fairly constant at around a hundred, while the number of hyenas has been remarkably stable at around twenty (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, pp. 24-25).

Economy. As pointed out above, ample water-supply and more than average rainfall have enabled Hamadān to sustain a fairly prosperous agriculture. In fact, agriculture remains the principal economic activity in the province. Availability of primary products (both agricultural and mineral), has been conducive to industrial activity.

Agriculture. While Hamadān’s area constitutes 1.2 percent of the area of the whole country, its share of land under cultivation is estimated to be 4.5 percent, which is more than 3.5 times its share of the surface. Around 48 percent of Hamadān is covered by agricultural land, of which about 52 percent is under cultivation. However, about two-thirds of the agricultural land is under dry farming (deym), which generally yields less than one third of the irrigated land, and about half of the area under cultivation is fallow. Wheat and barley account for the bulk of the area under cultivation. Table 2 illustrates the relative importance of various products in 1998.

Orchards account for about 6.1 percent of cultivable land. Annually about 2.2 to 2.6 million tons of agricultural products are produced in Hamadān, which is about 4.8 percent of the produce of the country as a whole (Fāṭemi, p. 124).

Industry. Hamadān has been known for its handicraft industry, including tanning (see DABBĀGĪ), carpet-weaving, ceramics (qq.v.), and knitting for a long time, and in 1998 some 1,443 production units were active in this field. Hamadān’s contemporary industrial activity extends from light to heavy industry, including the production of food (dairy products, canned fruits, sugar, soft drinks), textiles, plastics, household goods, mining, construction and metallurgy. During the period 1994-98, a total of 453 industrial operation permits were issued. In 1995, there were 266 large industrial units in operation in Hamadān, employing 8,620 people (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, pp. 188, 191-92). Large units producing agricultural and construction machinery, aluminum products, and steel are already operational or under construction.

Hamadān is fairly rich in minerals, including granite (the most important source of it in the country) and ornamental stones, limestone, silica, lead, zinc, and iron ore. In 1998, there were 142 active mines in Hamadān, including 52 sandstone, 36 silica, 19 ballas, 13 ornamental stones, and 14 limestone mines, employing 819 persons (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, pp. 198-99).

There are 2,034 km of inter-city roads in Hamadān, of which 236 km are highways and 492 km are main roads; the rest are secondary roads. There are also 3,068 km of rural roads of which 2,507 are macadam (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, pp. 227-28).

Languages spoken. Hamadān has been a crossroads of civilizations for millennia and a mosaic of cultures and dialects live there side by side. The main language spoken, especially in the provincial capital and its surroundings, is Persian, which is also the lingua franca in other regions. In the northern parts of the province, however, the language mostly spoken is Azeri Turkish, while in the northwest and west, near the provinces of Kurdistan and Kermānšāhān, people mostly speak Kurdish, while in some other cities such as Malāyer, Nehāvand, and Sāmen most people speak Lori and Lak (Faraji, p. 1296).


Rabiʿ Badiʿi, Joḡrāfiā-ye mofaṣṣal-e Irān, 3 vols., Tehran, 1988.

Dāyera-ye joḡrāfiāʾi-e Setād-e arteš, Rāhnemā-ye šahr-e Hamadān, Tehran, 1952.

Moḥammad Borhāni and Āryā Partovi Deylami, Gozāreš-e moṭālaʿāt-eābhā-ye zir-e zamini-e Hamadān, Tehran, 1982.

Hélène Desmet-Grégoire, “Le pain dans le région d’Hamadān (Iran),” Stud. Ir. 9/2, 1980, pp. 251-76.

Idem and Patrice Fontaine, La region d’Arak et de Hamadan: cartes etdocuments ethnographiques, Stud. Ir., Cahier 6, Leuven, 1988.

Eckart Ehlers, “Der Alvand Kuh: Zur Kulturgeographie eines iranischen Hochgebirges und seines Vorlandes,” in Adolf Leidlmair-Festschrift, Insbrucher Geographische Studien 5, 1979, pp. 483-500.

Idem, Iran: Grundzüge einer geographischen Landeskunde, Darmstadt, 1980, pp. 61-62, 91-92, 293-94, 379-81.

Ebrāhim Eṣlāḥ ʿArabāni, ed., Rāhnemā-ye šahrestānhā-yeIrān, Tehran, 1966, pp. 518-26.

ʿAbd-al-Reżā Faraji, ed., Joḡrāfiā-ye kāmel-e Irān, Tehran, 1987.

Sayyed Abu’l-Ḥasan Fāṭemi, Simā-ye gardeš-gari-e ostān-e Hamadān, Hamadān, 2001.

W. B. Fisher, “Physical Geography,” in Camb. Hist. Iran I, pp. 3-110.

Gazetteer ofIran I, pp. 176, 219-23, 430, 486, 668.

ʿAbd-al-Rafiʿ Ḥaqiqat “Rafiʿ,” Farhang-e tāriḵi o joḡrāfiāʾi-e šahrestānhā-ye Irān, Tehran, 1996, pp. 641-44.

Kano Hiromasa, “City Development and Occupational Change in Iran: A Case Study of Hamadan,” The Developing Economies 16/3, Tokyo, pp. 298-328.

A. V. Williams Jackson, Persia Past and Present, New York and London, 1906, pp. 146-50.

ʿAbbās Jaʿfari, Gitā-šenāsi-eIrān I: kuhhā wa kuh-nāma-ye Irān, Tehran, 1989.

Idem, Gitā-šenāsi-e Irān II: rudahā wa rud-nāma-ye Irān, Tehran, 1997.

Masʿud Keyhān, Joḡrāfiā-ye mofaṣṣal-e Irān, 3 vols., Tehran, 1932, I, pp. 59-60; II, pp. 379-86.

Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, Šenās-nāma-ye āmāri-e šahrhā-ye ostān-e Hamadān, Tehran, 1996.

Idem, Āmār-nāma-ye ostān-eHamadān, sāl-e 1377, Tehran, 1999.

Moʾassesa-ye ʿāli-e pažuheš dar barnāma-rizi wa tawseʿa, Ṭarḥ-e moṭāleʿāt-e jāmeʿ-e tawseʿa-ye Ostān-e Hama-dān, Section 2: Omur-e ejtemāʿi, Tehran, 2002.

Xavier de Planhol, “Geography of Settlement,” in Camb. Hist. Iran I, pp. 409-67.

Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Qarāguzlu, Hagmatāna tā Hamadān, Tehran, n.d., pp. 19-23, 93-126, 515 ff.

Razmārā, Farhang V, pp. 353, 432-35, 460-62, 479-86, 512-17.

P. Schwartz and A. Miquel, “Karkha,” in EI2 IV, pp. 653-54.

Ḥabib-Allāh Zanjāni et al., Sawābeq-e jamʿiati-e šahrhā wa ābādihā-ye Ostān-e Hamadān, publication nos. 2-4, in Ṭarḥ-e kālbodi-e melli, Markaz-e moṭāleʿāt wa taḥqiqāt-e šahr-sāzi wa meʿmāri-e Iran, Tehran, 1992, p. 7.

Ḥabib-Allāh Zanjāni and Faridun Raḥmāni, Rāhnemā-ye jamʿiat-e šahrhā-ye Irān 1335-1370, Tehran, 1989.


This article is divided into two sections: (1) population of Hamadān province; and (2) population of Hamadān city.


Population and its fluctuations. Between 1956 and 1996, the population of this province has increased 2.41 times, rising from 695,283 to 1,667,957 (compared with 3.17 times for the country as a whole). Table 1 shows the growth of the urban and non-urban (rural, non-sedentary, moving and migrant) populations of Hamadān.

A part of the population of Hamadān consists of migrating tribes. According to the census definition most parts of these tribes are considered as rural population and only a small part as non-sedentary. Nevertheless, census data provide some information concerning their number, tribal name and other social characteristics. The latest population survey of this kind was carried out in 1998 and provides us with the information presented in Table 2.

The most important tribe which summers in Hamadān is the Tork Yārom Ṭāqlu tribe. With a total population of 7,234 (1,096 households), this tribe is divided into four groups, according to the location of their winter quarters: Ḵuzestān 4,052 (572 households), Lorestān 1,639 (256 households), Kermānšāh 1,124 (195 households), Ilām 421 (73 households). The Tork Yāram tribe and its four groups account for 79.3% of the migrating tribes but spend the summer in Hamadān.

The most important tribe which winters in Hamadān is the Torkāšvand tribe, which, with a population of 608, consisting of 37.8 households, accounts for 37.8% of the migrating tribes that spend their winter in Hamadān (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, 1999, pp. 12-59). The average size of the tribal family for those tribes that summer in Hama-dān is 6.54 persons, the Magasseh tribe having the largest families (7.6 persons), and the Jomhur tribe having the smallest (5.7 persons).

Distribution and density of population. Up until 1996, less than half of the population of Hamadān (48.3%) lived in urban areas. Urbanization accelerated after 1991, and although this figure may have exceeded 50% in recent years, Hamadān has still preserved its urban/rural image. Out of an urban population of 810,000 people in Hamadān, 49.5% lived in the city of Hamadān, 17.8 in the city of Malāyer, 8% in the city of Nehāvand, close to 6% in the city of Asadābād, 4.7% in the city of Tuyserkān, 3.2 in the city of Bahār, and the rest (10.8%) in the 10 small cities with populations less than 25 thousand people. The least populated city of the province is Firuzān, with a population of 2,415, which is located northeast of Nehāvand. In 1996, from the point of view of the population, the city of Hamadān ranked 13th amongst the 612 cities of Persia, while Firuzān ranked 591st (Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, 2001, pp. 87, 113, 118).

Between 1996 and 1998 four more cities (Jowreqān and Nehāvand in the governorship of Nehāvand and Azandariān in the governorship of Malāyer and Ṣāleḥābād in the governorship of Bahār) were added to the number of the cities in the province.

In 1996, the rural population of Hamadān lived in 1,122 villages and its distribution was as shown in Table 3.

In 1996, the average number of inhabitants per settlement was 773 persons, which is 2.28 times the average for the country as a whole. Table 4 gives a bird’s eye-view of the area (km2), population (in thousands), and number of cities and inhabited settlements, as well as the population density per square kilometer of Hamadān province.

Reproduction and mortality. According to the National Bureau of Registrations (Edāra-ye koll-e ṯabt-e aḥwāl-e kešvar), there were 31,679 births and 6,738 deaths during 1996 in the province of Hamadān. This gives us a birth rate of 19 per thousand, a death rate of 4 per thousand and a natural growth rate of 15 per thousand, or 1.5%, compared with the average per annum for the period 1986-1996, which is estimated as 2.5% in the Master Plan of Hamadān Province (Moʾassesa-ye ʿāli-e pažuheš dar barnāma-rizi wa tawseʿa, pp. 6-37).

However, according to the demographic survey of the Regional Development Plan (Markaz-e moṭāleʿāt wa taḥqiqāt-e šahr-sāzi wa meʿmāri-e Iran, p. 13) the total fertility rate in 1996 for this province was 3.75 children (2.93 for the urban, and 4.57 for the rural areas), and as the mortality rate was 8.6 per thousand (Zanjāni and Nur-Allāhi, p. 66), the natural rate of population growth is estimated to be about 2 (2.04) per thousand.

Migration. In the past the province of Hamadān has been a net source of emigration and until 1976 had a negative migratory balance of some 202 thousand persons (Zanjāni, 2001,pp. 94-106). Between 1976 and 1986, however, Hamadān hosted a number of refugees from the war zones. Nonetheless, it continued to remain a net source of emigration, albeit with a smaller negative migratory balance of some 50,933 persons. This trend continued between 1986 and 1996, when Hamadān’s negative migratory balance amounted to 42,974 persons (National Census, Ostān-e Hamadān, 1996). It seems that this trend will continue in the near future and emigration will partially compensate for Hamadān’s natural population growth.

Literacy. In 1996 slightly over 77 percent of the population of the province of Hamadān was literate (83.1 percent for men, 71.3 percent for women). The percentage, especially for women, has risen considerably after the revolution, as shown by Table 5.

The literacy rate for the 6-10 year old age group was 96.2 percent for boys and 94.9 percent for girls in 1996, which shows the high coverage of elementary education. For the 11-14 year-old age group (lower high school) the figures were 98.6 percent and 97.9 percent, while for the 15-19 year-old age group (upper high school) they were 97.9 percent and 96.1 percent. The highest percentage for the over six-year old population belongs to the governorship of Hamadān, while the lowest belongs to the governorship of Razan. The level of education of 53.3 percent of the literate population was elementary school or lower, that of 40.2 percent was between elementary school and high school and that of 4.2 percent was advanced education (Āmār-nāma-ye Ostān-e Hamadān, pp. 93-97).

Religion. The overwhelming majority of the population of Hamadān were Moslems, who in 1996 accounted for 99.88 percent of the total population. In that year there were 308 Zoroastrians, 86 Christians, 47 Jews and 492 followers of other religions; 1,015 persons had not declared their religion.

Marriage. In 1996, nearly 51.9 percent of men and 53.5 percent of women of the over ten-year-old population of this province were married; 1.03 percent of men and 6.6 percent of women were widows and widowers, and 46.7 percent of men and 38.9 percent of women had never married (46.1 percent and 37.7 percent in the urban areas, and 47.4 percent and 40.1 percent in the rural areas; National Census, Ostān-e Hamadān, 1996).

Households. In 1996, there were 341,789 ordinary sedentary households, 33 ordinary non-sedentary households and 262 collective households in this province. Ordinary households on average were composed of 4.85 members (4.54 for the urban and 5.17 for the rural areas). 9.13 percent of ordinary households consisted of the head of the household and his spouse, 67.31 percent consisted of the head of the household, his spouse and children, 5.1 percent consisted of the head of the household and children, and 18.5 percent were other types of households. In 8.9 percent of ordinary households, the head of the household was a woman and in this respect there was no significant difference between the urban and rural areas. 81.8 percent of the heads of the households (88.7 percent of males and 11.8 percent of females) were employed. Households of 4 and 5 members, making up 17.01 and 15.48 percent of the total, are the most common, followed in frequency by households of 3 members and 6 members, at 15.41 percent and 13.42 percent, respectively.

Housing and housing facilities. None of the households of this province lived in tents, barracks or makeshift dwellings and close to 100 of them had normal housing units at their disposal. 98.8 percent of the households had electricity, 82.8 percent had piped water, 44.2 percent (72.1 percent in the urban areas and 14.5 percent in the rural areas) had bathrooms in their houses and 22.7 percent (38.3 percent in the urban areas and 14.5 percent in the rural areas) had telephones. 78.8 percent of the households (72 percent in the urban areas and 86 percent in the rural areas) were owners of their houses and 10.5 percent (18.1 percent in the urban areas and 2.6 percent in the rural areas) were lease-holders. The rest had other types of housing at their disposal.

Activity and employment. The rate (in percentages) of activity and unemployment of the over ten-year-old population of the province is shown in Table 6.

Moreover, 2 percent of the over ten year-old population of the province (2.67 percent in the urban areas and 1.32 percent in the rural areas) have had revenues without employment.

Income and expenditure. According to the random samplings taken from 1993 to 1997, household income and cost of living data are as shown in Table 7.

The cost of living index rose in the urban areas from 100 in 1990 (base year) to 448.6 in 1996 and 624.3 in 1998, and in the rural areas from 100 in 1990 (base year) to 1197.2 in 1996 (ibid. pp. 285, 289).

Population projection. On the basis of studies made in the Regional Development Plan, the population of this province is likely to grow from 2001 to 2021 in the manner shown in Table 8.

This suggests that with annual rates of growth of 1.92, 3.36 and 0.03 percent for the province as a whole, the urban areas and the rural areas respectively, within a period of two decades the urban population will increase by 94 percent while the rural population will decline by 6.3 percent.


Population. Between 1939 and 1941, censuses were carried out in 35 cities; that of Hamadān took place in 1940, when it was found to have a population of 103,874 people. Prior to that, in 1929 it was around 60,000, while in 1937 it was 80,280 (Mojdā, p. 42). Table 9 indicates how the population of Hamadān has evolved on the basis of the succeeding censuses from 1966 to 1996.

This shows that the peak years for population growth were between 1937 and 1940, while the slowest rate of growth was recorded during the occupation of the country from 1941 during World War II. After the Islamic Revolution the rate of population growth in Hamadān has been higher than that of the urban population in the country as a whole. For the period 1976-96, while the annual rate of growth of the urban population for the country as a whole was 4.30 percent, that of Hamadān reached 4.52 percent.

Education and literacy. In 1956, 30.8 percent of the over ten-year-old population of Hamadān (44.0 percent for males and 17.8 percent for females) were literate (1956 census, p. 16). In 1996 the same ratio for the over six-year-old population had increased to 83.9 percent (86 percent for males and 75 percent for females; 1996 census, p. 44). Given that school admission has been changed, for 1966 this ratio has been calculated for the over seven-year-old population and for the following years for the over six-year-old population, as indicated in Table 10.

Throughout this period the ratio of literate females to literate males has been constantly rising: It rose from 40.5 percent in 1956, to 59.6, 74.0, 79.5 and 94.2 in the succeeding censuses.

As for the level of education, it is interesting to note that the number of people with advanced education has increased from 164 people in 1956 (149 males and 15 females) to 2011 in 1976 (1, 497 males and 514 females) and 11,173 people in 1996 (6,544 males and 4,629 females), which shows that within a period of forty years the number of males with advanced education has multiplied by 44 while the number of females with advanced education has increased some 309 fold. It also indicates the narrowing of the wide gap between the sexes from 9.9 times to 1.4 times as many men.

Matrimonial situation. The distribution of the over 15-year old male population of Hamadān from the point of view of matrimony is shown in Table 11.

As for women, the situation for the over 10-year-old population was as shown in Table 12.

These figures indicate changes in the matrimonial situation before and after the revolution. Between 1966 and 1976, the legal age for marriage was raised and there is a significant drop in the percentage of married men, but not married women. After 1976 the percentage of married men increased steadily, but the percentage of married women increased only until 1986, falling sharply thereafter, and reaching its lowest ever level in 1996. This trend reflects the increased participation of women in advanced education and their determined efforts to raise their social status and participate more actively in economic and civic activities. There is a good chance that this trend will continue in the near future. In this connection, it is interesting to note that the percentage of 15-19-year-old females who have married at least once has decreased in the way indicated in Table 13 between 1966 and 1996.

As can be seen, there is a sharp drop between 1986 and 1996 when the percentage is more than halved in just ten years.

Activity and employment. In 1996, some 77.5 percent of the population of Hamadān was made up of the over ten–year-old population, which, under the census definition, is considered to be the age to work. Economically, 35.24 percent of this population are considered to be active, out of which 90.9 percent were employed and 9.1 percent were unemployed. Just over one-third of the employed were employed in industry, 61.6 in services, 3.9 in agriculture and less than 1 percent in unclassified activities (1996 census, p. 44). Compared with the data for 1986, the level of activity has dropped by 13.4 percent, employment has dropped by 11.1 percent and unemployment has fallen by 37 percent.

More than half (52.5 percent) of those in search of employment were between 10 and 25 years old, and nearly 40 percent of them were between 25 and 65 years old. 14.4 percent were illiterate, 20.3 percent had elementary education, 57.5 percent had high school education and 4.6 percent had advanced education.

Amongst the unemployed urban population of the province (and 95.6 percent of the urban population of the province lived in the city of Hamadān) 44.6 percent were previously employed, out of which, prior to losing their jobs, 22.7 percent were employed in construction, 18.6 percent in manufacturing, 16.7 percent in agriculture, 14.9 percent in “sale and repair of motor vehicles and household equipment,” 9.6 percent in transport and communications and the rest in miscellaneous occupations. As for the length of unemployment, 34 percent were unemployed for more than 25 months, 13.8 percent for between 13 and 25 months, 18.9 percent for between 7 and 13 months, and the rest for less than 7 months.

Women accounted for 14.1 percent of the unemployed urban population of the province, and 2.4 percent of those who had previously been employed. 53.8 percent of the latter were employed in the public sector, while for men this applied to only 15.8 percent (1996 census, pp. 233-54).

Household size and composition. Variations in the size of ordinary households during the census years have been as shown in Table 14.

This shows that birth control policies have reduced the size of households between 1966 and 1976 and their abandonment has brought about their increase in size between 1976 and 1986.

The distribution of households according to the number of members is shown in Table 15.

These figures confirm the effects of birth control policies implemented between 1947 and 1978 and after 1989 on the distribution of households. In both these periods the number of households with two and three members and four and five members increased while simultaneously the number of households with six members and more declined. On the other hand, the number of one-member households has been falling steadily since 1976.

Housing. As there have been minor modifications in the definition of households and housing units in various censuses, a special effort should be made to compare the comparable data.

Occupation of housing units. The frequency of distribution of the three main types of occupation of housing units is shown in Table 16 (figures in percentages for ordinary sedentary households).

The percentage of owned housing units increased considerably between 1966 and 1986. This must have been due, for the period 1976 to 1986, to the urban land policy that was adopted and the housing facilities made available after the revolution. It remained more or less stabilized in the next decade. In parallel, the number of leaseholds declined, especially during the first decade of the revolution. Its slight rise in the next decade may be attributed to the rising price of land and mounting inflation.

Types of housing units. Nearly all the households in the city of Hamadān live in ordinary housing units, the percentage having risen from 99.77 in 1966 to 99.98 in 1996, such that the number of households living in tents, make-shift dwellings and the like declined from 82 in 1966 and 97 in 1976 to 16 in 1996 for all the urban areas of Hamadān. Simultaneously, the percentage of households living in one-bedroom housing units declined from 48.2 percent in 1966 to 27.2 percent in 1976 in the city of Hamadān, and to 12.0 percent in 1986, and 5.8 percent in 1996, in the urban areas of the county of Hamadān (Hamadān censuses).

Housing facilities. The main facilities accounted for by the data are electricity, piped water, telephone and gas. Table 17 indicates the availability of these facilities (figures in percentage of housing units).

From 1986 data were also gathered about bathrooms, toilets, kitchens and the use of central heating; the percentage of housing units benefiting from such facilities are shown in Table 18.

The temperate climate of Hamadān partially accounts for the low percentage of housing units with air conditioners.

Population projection. The projected estimate of the population of the city of Hamadān in 2003 according to Hamadān’s Development and Construction Plan (Ṭarḥ-e tawseʿa wa ʿomrān-e Hamadān) is 552,000 people. The latest population projection for the city, made in the Regional Development Plan (Ṭarḥ-e āmāyeš-e sarzamin) in 2000, is reproduced in Table 19.

Population projections made under the National Phy-sical Plan (Ṭarḥ-e kālbodi-e melli) in the early post-revolutionary period of a high rate of growth foresaw a population increase from 970,000 to 1,153,000 for Hamadān in 2021, which, given the rapid decline in the rate of population growth during the past 15 years, seems quite unlikely to be realized.


Markaz-e moṭāleʿāt wa taḥqiqāt-e šahr-sāzi wa meʿmāri-e Irān, Ṭarḥ-e kālbodi-e melli, gozā-reš-e talfiqi I, Tehran, 1996.

Markaz-e āmār-e Irān, Āmārgiri az vižagihā-ye ešteḡāl wa bikāri-e ḵānavār, Tehran, 1990.

Idem, Natāej-e tafṣili-e saršomāri-e sāl-e 1996, Ostān-e Hamadān (publications 2-25), 1998.

Idem, Saršomāri-e eqteṣādi-ejtemāʿi az ʿašāyer-e kučanda-ye kešvar, Tehran, 1999.

Idem, Āmārgiri az vižagihā-ye ešteḡāl wa bikāri-e ḵānavār, Tehran, 2000.

Idem, Jamʿiat-e šahrhā-ye Irān, 1956-1996, Tehran, 2001.

Moʾassesa-ye ʿāli-e pažuheš dar barnāma-rizi wa tawseʿa, Ṭarḥ-e moṭāleʿāt-e jāmeʿ-e tawseʿa-ye Ostān-e Hamadān, Section 2: Omur-e ejtemāʿi, Tehran, 2002.

Mohandesin-e Mošāwer-e Mojdā, Ṭarḥ-e tawseʿa wa ʿomrān-e Hamadān, Hamadān, 1984.

Sāzmān-e barnāma wa budja-ye Ostān-e Hamadān, Āmār-nāma-ye Os-tān-e Hamadān, Hamadān, 1998.

Ḥabib-Allāh Zanjāni, Jamʿiat wa šahrnešini dar Iran, I, Jamʿiyat, Markaz-e moṭāleʿāt wa taḥqiqāt-e šahr-sāzi wa meʿmāri-e Irān, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1992.

Idem, Mohājerat, Tehran, 2001.

Idem and Simin Eslāmbolči Moqaddam, Moṭāleʿāt-e jamʿiat dar ṭarḥ-e āzmāyeš-e sarzamin, Markaz-e moṭāleʿāt wa taḥqiqāt-e šahr-sāzi wa meʿmāri-e Iran, Sections 3-5, 1998.

Idem, et al., Sawābeq-e jamʿiati-e šahrhā wa ābādihā-ye Ostān-e Hamadān, publication nos. 2-4, in Ṭarḥ-e kālbodi-e melli, Markaz-e moṭāleʿāt wa taḥqiqāt-e šahr-sāzi wa meʿmāri-e Iran, Tehran, 1992, p. 7.

Idem and Fereydun Raḥmāni, Rāhnemā-ye jamʿiat-e šahrhā-ye Iran, 1335-1370, Markaz-e moṭāleʿāt wa taḥqiqāt-e šahr-sāzi wa meʿmāri-e Iran, Tehran, 1989.

Idem and Ṭāhā Nur-Allāhi, Jadāwel-e marg o mir-e Irān barā-ye sāl-e 1375, Tehran, 2000.


The city of Hamadān lies at the extreme northwest of the series of major urban sites stretching along the line of contact between the Zagros range and the central plateau. While travel is easy from the plateau northwards to Qazvin, Zanjān, and Tabriz, the two routes that lead to Mesopotamia go across the mountains: one to the west toward Kermānšāh and Baghdad and another to the south by way of Borujerd and Ḵorramābād toward Ḵuzestān and the Persian Gulf. These routes meet at a location with an ample supply of water flowing from small streams that descend the Alvand and feed the rich irrigated soil of the valleys just to the south and southeast of the city itself. With annual average precipitation of 332 mm (1956-71), Hamadān falls within the zone of rainy season cereal production, which is possible throughout the foothills. It thus belongs to the oldest category of those Iranian towns that predate the development of irrigation by subterranean channels (kāriz, qanāt). This technology allowed areas without surface water to be cultivated and permanently inhabited.

The convergence of these conditions indeed favored the early presence of a major population, but the precise set of circumstances that presided over the birth of Hamadān remains a moot question. The name itself, transmitted by the Classical authors as Ecbatana (q.v.), appears as Hamgmatāna- in an inscription of Darius I at Bisotun (DB 2.76 ff.; Ahmatan and Hamatan in its Armenian variants; see Weissbach, col. 2155; Ahmetā in biblical Hebrew in Ezra 6:2). This can be read as a form of the OPers. hamgmata- (“[place of] gathering”; see Kent, pp. 183, 212). The Elamite form, hal.mata.na, suggests the meaning “land of the Medes” (Frye, p. 105). Whether this is the case or not, the town entered history as the recognized capital of the Median tribes. Herodotus attributes its creation to the Median king Deioces (q.v.), who, at the end of the 8th century B.C.E., compelled the Medes, until then living in scattered communities, to construct a single town on an isolated hill (Herodotus, 1.96-101). He had this hill, perhaps identical with the present-day Moṣallā Hill in Hamadān, fortified with seven concentric ramparts. This description by Herodotus now appears rather fanciful when it is compared with another description by the Greek physician Ctesias (apud Diodorus, 2.13.4-8), which was derived from a different source and is more in line with the present site. The most plausible interpretation is that Deioces declared a pre-existing town to be the new capital of a people he unified and which he then ordered to be renovated according to his schemes. The history of that prior urban center itself remains vague. The Assyrian texts dating from the time of Tiglathpileser I (ca. 1,100 B.C.E.) mention a place called Amadana, but there is no evidence to connect these two similar names. The site that Deioces made his capital and the present location of Hamadān was probably the “fortress of the Babylonians,” known to have existed during the later expedition of Tiglathpileser III into the region at the end of the 8th century B.C.E. (D’yakonov, pp. 201, 279, map on pp. 224-25). It makes sense that Deioces, given the pressure he faced from the Assyrians, would have chosen as the capital of the tribes he had just unified an easily defendable spot at the meeting point of the main routes across the Zagros Mountains. The attractions of that site themselves make it unlikely that he founded an urban center where there would have been none before.

The Persian conquest in the 6th century B.C.E. shifted the political center of gravity, but Ecbatana remained the summer residence of the Achemenids, and its role as a focus of power grew within the context of an Empire that had brought the Iranian plateau and Mesopotamia under one rule. The prosperity of the town apparently persisted through the period of the Arsacids, who also made it their capital, a function it lost under the Sasanians. In early Muslim times it nonetheless remained a vital center, and all Arab geographers (see Schwarz, Iran V, pp. 523-28; Le Strange, Lands, pp. 194-96) depicted it as a large town, occupying an area of a square league (farsaḵ) according to Eṣṭaḵri (p. 198) and Ebn Ḥawqal (p. 362; tr. Kramer, II, p. 353). Under the Saljuqs it again served as capital. It was destroyed during the Mongol invasion, but it regained its former prominence under the Safavids and was described by Pietro Della Valle in 1617 (II, p. 23), Jean-Baptiste Tavernier in 1644 (I, p. 206), and Paul Lucas in 1701 (II, p. 81) as a large city, one of the biggest in the country, and a commercial site on the route between Baghdad and Isfahan. In 1655 the Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi emphasized its mighty fortress and garrison of 9,000 men, its abundant supply of water, the scale of its bāzār, and estimated its dwellings at 8,000 (VII, pp. 82-89). After the fall of the Safavids, its proximity to the border between Persia and the Ottoman Empire exposed the city to considerable hardships (Lockhart, pp. 267 ff.). The Ottomans occupied it for eight years (1724-32) and during this period established a detailed fiscal register of the city and its province. These records, preserved in the archives at Istanbul (Lewis), are unfortunately still unpublished.

From the 19th century on, the wealth of descriptions and accounts by European travelers provides increasingly comprehensive information on the population and its activities: Guillaume Antoine Olivier in 1796 (III, pp. 28-35; cf. p. 29), Adren Dupré in 1807 (I, pp. 158-268; cf. p. 259), James Morier in 1812 (II, pp. 120-141; cf. p. 125). James Silk Buckingham in 1816 (I, p. 284) describes it as “a pile of ruins.” Āqā Moḥammad Khan Qājār had its fortress torn down. Though the trade in luxury items that had flourished under the Safavids stagnated, especially that in silk and nankeen porcelain, commerce was not negligible. There were active commercial links with Baghdad, Isfahan, and Tehran. The city exported fur, in particular fox and wolf, linen, as well as silk and cotton. From Baghdad and Erzerum came copper, lead, and saltpeter, as well as cloth (Dupré, I, p. 265; Morier, p. 139). There were regular caravans to Ḵuzestān. In 1807 Dupré estimated there were 8,000 dwellings (I, p. 265). In 1813 John Macdonald Kinneir put that number at 10,000 (p. 127). By all evidence, though the city still may have borne the scars of its hard times in the 18th century, both the population and its activity had returned approximately to what they had been under the Safavids.

Shortly thereafter there was renaissance of architectural renewal under Fatḥ-ʿAli Shah, who had grasped the strategic importance of the city. He sent his son Moḥammad-ʿAli Mirzā Dawlatšāh as governor to oversee the construction of new bāzārs, caravansaries, and a large garrison, and had him accompanied by numerous administrators. In 1818 Robert Ker Porter described the progress of this resurgence of activity (II, pp. 102-4). He set the population at 40,000 to 45,000 and estimated that 3,000 dwellings, about a third of the total, were inhabited by state employees.

This was the period at which the city reached its greatest level of prosperity due to trade with Baghdad, which remains, along with the routes towards the north and the northwest, a principal avenue of trade for Persia. The population has not ceased growing. In 1845, Joseph Pierre Ferrier put it at 50,000 inhabitants (p. 38); in 1861 Heinrich C. Brugsch raised that number to 70,000 (I, p. 371), and concurred (I, p. 376) with Ferrier (p. 38) that the bāzārs were both attractive and lively. In 1867 Tinco Lycklama offered the figure of only 50,000 inhabitants, but it nonetheless appears that this period coincided with a surge of growth. Leaving aside international trade, local crafts and trades were very prosperous: leatherwork and tanning, shoe-making, felt, carpets, copper works, dyeing and woodwork (the manufacture of writing desks; Kinneir, p. 127; Ker Porter, p. 103; Morier, p. 139; Lycklama, III, p. 519; Bishop, II, p. 151; Brugsch, I, p. 137; Ferrier, p. 38). The growth of these industries was accompanied by the increasing presence of religious minorities, who were active in trade. The Jewish community had long been important. In 1701, Lucas wrote (II., p. 81) that they were more numerous in Hamadān than elsewhere in Persia. Their number was put at 200 families by Dupré in 1807 (I, p. 264), at already 600 families by Ker Porter in 1818 (II, p. 104), and at 400 by George Keppel in 1824 (p. 102). During the demographic peak of the city’s population, Brugsch, however, counted only 150 families (I, p. 373). Later in 1889, George Curzon cited the figure of 2,000 persons in the Jewish community (I, p. 510) and in 1890 Isabella Bird Bishop wrote of between 1,500 and 2,000 (II, p. 155). It is hard to discern if this variation reflects the inaccuracy of the source or real changes over time. Given what is known about the fate of the Armenian population, which did in fact vary significantly over time, the second hypothesis may be true. Dupré reported (I, p. 264) that the Armenian community had once comprised 3,000 persons before its persecution and expulsion by Nāder Shah Afšār. Only six families had remained when he visited the city in 1807. Eleven years later, in 1818, Ker Porter counted 600 families (II, p. 104), and in 1867 Lycklama gave the figure of between 4,000 and 5,000 Armenians present in Hamadān (III, p. 523). It is obvious that the return of the Armenians was related to the growth in commerce during the 19th century, and it is plausible to assume that the Jewish community also varied in strength over the same period and for similar reasons, though the details are unknown.

The peak of economic activity and population growth was reached in the 1860s, and a marked decline set in during the last third of that century. In 1885 Henry Binder (p. 375) lowered the population estimate to 30,000 persons; Isabella Bishop in 1890 (II, p. 156) put its figure at 25,000, even observing that it had fallen. George Curzon in 1889 (II, p. 575) had offered a figure of only 15,000 inhabitants. Perhaps this drop was a lingering demographic effect of the great famine of 1870-72 (q.v.), though the causes of the decline of Hamadān in these times remain difficult to ascertain. Alexandr Tumanskiĭ, who lived in the city in 1894, only five years after Curzon’s visit, claimed that the population was again between 40,000 and 50,000, stating that “the city had grown much over the past twenty years because of English trade through Baghdad” (p. 30). Economic motives were without a doubt significant in the discrepancies between these sources, so close in time, since they are difficult to reconcile.

In any event, the shift of trade in Persia to the north and in particular to Tabriz in the beginning of the 20th century negatively affected Hamadān, which fell into decline. In the 1931 census, the population was numbered at 51,000, and from that point on the city grew regularly and rapidly (100,000 in 1956; 165,000 in 1976; 272,000 in 1986; 401,000 in 1996), due to the general trend toward urbanization and demographic expansion throughout the country (see v, below).

Throughout this period Hamadān set itself apart from other Persian cities by its unique pattern of urban development. Starting in 1926, Persian cities were remodeled under the impetus of Reżā Shah, whose planners opened, through the ancient city centers, a grid or checkerboard layout of broad crisscrossing and parallel avenues (Scharlau). Hamadān is an exception to this rule, since its modern layout consists of avenues opened consecutively and radiating from a center point (cf. fig. 1, based on the plan by Razmārā, pp. 5 and 6, and the adjoining aerial photograph taken before the plan, in which one can see Avenue Šāhpur, only partially finished). The exact cause of this unique exercise in urban planning is not known, but the effect is that of an architecturally defined center point of the city between the Friday Mosque and the Jewish shrine of Esther and Mordechai (q.v.). This exceptional arrangement may well have been a scholarly allusion to the concentric circles that Herodotus described in his version of Ecbatana. Be that as it may, within the context of Iranian urban planning in the second half of the 1920s, Hamadān is a conspicuous anomaly.


Parviz Aḏkāʾi, Hamadān-nāma, Hama-dān, 2001.

Mirza Bala, “Hemedân,” in İA V, pp. 420-25.

Henry Binder, Au Kurdistan, en Mésopotamie et enPerse: mission scientifique du Ministère du l’instruction publique, Paris, 1887; tr. Karāmat-Allāh Afsar as Safar-nāma-ye Hānri Bāynder … , Tehran, 1991.

Isabella Bird Bishop, Journeys in Persia andKurdi-staŋ, 2 vols., London, 1891.

Heinrich Karl Brugsch, Reise der K. Preuss: Gesandschaft nach Persien 1860 und 1861, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1862.

James Silk Buckingham, Travels in Assyria, Media and Persia … , 2 vols., London, 1830.

Evliya Çelebi, Seyahet nâmesi, ed. Zuhuri Danışman, 15 vols., Istanbul, 1969-71.

George N. Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, 2 vols., London, 1892.

Adrien Dupré, Voyage en Perse faitdans les années 1807, 1808 et 1809, en traversant l’Anatolie… jusqu’à l’extrémité du Golf Persique et … Irewan, 2 vols., Paris, 1819.

Mikhail Mikhailovich D’yakonov (Diakonoff), Istoriya Midii, Moscow and Leningrad, 1956; tr. Karim Kešāvarz as Tārīḵ-e Mād, Tehran, 1966.

Joseph Pièrre Ferrier, Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkistaŋwith Historical Notices … , ed. H. D. Seymour, London, 1856.

Richard. N. Frye, “Hamadhān,” in EI2 III, pp. 105-6.

George Thomas Keppel, Personal Narrative of Travels in Babylonia, Assyria, Media andScythia in the Year 1824, 3rd. ed., 2 vols., London, 1827.

Robert Ker Porter, Travels inGeorgia, Persia, Armenia Ancient Babylonia … , 2 vols., London, 1821-22.

John Macdonald Kinneir, A Geographical Memoir of the Persian Empire, London, 1813.

Bernard Lewis, “Registers on Iran and Ãdhârbayjân in the Ottoman Defter-i Khâqânî,” in Mélanges d’Orientalismeofferts à Henri Massé, Tehran, 1963, pp. 295-63.

Laurence Lockhart, The Fall of the Ṣafavī Dynasty and the Afghan Occupation of Persia, Cambridge, 1958.

Paul Lucas, Voyage du sieur Paul Lucas au Levant, 2 vols., Paris, 1704.

Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt, Voyage enRussie, au Caucase et en Perse … pendant … 1866, 1867 et1868, 4 vols., Paris, 1872-75.

James J. Morier, Second Voyage en Perse, en Arménie et dans l’AsieMineure, fait de 1810 à 1816 … , 2 vols., Paris, 1818.

Guillaume Antoine Olivier, Voyage dans l’Empire Othoman, l’Égypte etla Perse … , 3 vols., Paris, 1801-7.

Ḥosayn-ʿAli Raz-mārā et al., Rāhnemā-ye šahr-e Hamadān, Tehran, 1952.

Kurt Scharlau, “Moderne Umgestaltungen im Grundriss iranischer Städte,” Erkunde 15, 1961, pp. 180-91.

Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Les six Voyages de … en Turquie, en Perse et en Inde, 2 vols., Utrecht, 1712.

Alexandr G. Tumanskiĭ, Ot Kaspiĭskago morya k Khormuzskomu prolivu i obratno, St. Petersburg, 1896.

Franz H. Weissbach, “Ekbatana,” in Pauly-Wissowa, V/2, cols. 2155-58.


Hamadān is the only city in Persia which has a star-shaped urban design, with six boulevards and a network of avenues autonomously branching out in various directions from the circular city center. This is not unlike the old cities of Firuzābād and Baghdad (qq.v.), although the autonomous branching of the avenues and smaller alleys in Hamadān does not conform to any pattern (see PLATE I ).

In 1928, German architects were given the task of designing a plan for the city which would modernize its urban infrastructure and be suitable for motor traffic. The resultant project was eventually implemented in 1933. Six 30-meter wide boulevards converged at an angle of 60 degrees on the central city circus (named, at first, after Moḥammad-Reżā Shah, and, later, after Khomeini). This meydān was 120 meters in diameter (Mohandesin-e mošāwer-e Marjān, p. 20).

According to the census of 1996, Hamadān covered an area of 53.5 sq. km, having grown steadily in the past forty years, from 350 hectares in 1956 to 575 hectares in 1966 and 1,288 hectares in 1976 (Mohandesin-e mošāwer-e Mojdā, p. 103). The expansion of Hamadān after the 1979 Revolution has exceeded all urban development forecasts. While an expansion to 4,064 hectares by 2003 had been predicted for the city, by 1996, seven years before that date, its total area had already reached 5,350 hectares.

The old quarters of Hamadān have narrow alleys and passageways which are usually covered, and therefore dark. The houses here are compact and lead directly to each other; the rooms, which are usually arched-shaped, represent a certain style of life that is almost extinct today. Hamadān’s buildings fall into three categories: inhabitable, repairable and in need of demolition; the majority belong to the third category. In the mid-1960s, 8% of the buildings were inhabitable, 15% repairable and 77% in need of demolition. Population density in Hamadān varies considerably according to precise location; it declines rapidly from more than 200 persons in the old quarters, which are located centrally, to less than 100 in the suburbs at the periphery (Mohandesin-e mošāwer-e Marjān, p. 20). There are three main centers of commercial activity in the city: the main bazaar, which is the hub of business, the secondary bazaars and market places (meydāns) and scattered commercial buildings.

Hamadān’s future expansion is expected to stretch towards the south, the southeast and the southwest, that is, at the foot at the Hagmatāna hills.


Mohandesin-e mošāwer-e Marjān, Ṭarḥ-e jāmeʿ-e Hamadān, summarized by ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Ešrāq, Tehran, 1968.

Mohandesin-e mošāwer-e Mojdā, Ṭarḥ-e tawseʿa wa ʿomrān-e Hamadān, Hama-dān, 1984.

Sāzmān-e barnāma wa budja-ye Hama-dān, Āmār-nāma-ye ostān-e Hamadān, 1377, Hamadān, 1998.



Hamadān was captured by the Arabs after their victory at the battle of Nehāvand, which took place in 19/640, or 21/642 (Ṭabari, I, p. 2647; Ṭabari, tr. XIV, p. 17), or 23/643 (Balāḏori, Fotuḥ, p. 309). The date varies according to different sources (see further Frye, p. 105; Ṭabari, tr. XIV, p. 17, note 90). A Persian general, Ḵosrow-Šonum, (Ṭabari, tr. XIII, p. 210, note 717) confronted the Arabs at Qaṣr-e Širin, and subsequently withdrew to his base and gave sanctuary to the Persian soldiers fleeing from the battlefield. When the Arabs arrived at the gates of Hamadān, one of the important local rulers (šahriārs; see Ṭabari, tr. XIII, p. 211, note 725) by the name of Dinār made peace with the commander of the Arab forces, Ḥoḏayfa b. Yamān, and agreed to the payment of tribute (jezya). The proposed document offering peace and protection was signed by the Arab generals Noʿaym b. Moqarren Mozani and Qaʿqāʿ b. ʿAmr Tamimi, who had reached Hamadān in pursuit of the defeated army. The name Māh Dinār used in Arabic sources referring to the district of Nehāvand was, according to Ṭabari, coined after the name of this ruler (Ṭabari, I, pp. 2628, 2635; Ṭabari, tr. XIII, p. 212; Balʿami, ed. Rowšan, p. 515).

Despite the decisive defeat at Nehāvand, the resistance against the Arab invasion persisted in various parts of the country, and the people of Hamadān revoked their treaty of peace. The Caliph ʿOmar b. al-Ḵaṭṭāb (d. 23/643) dispatched four armies to Persia to crush the resistance. The already mentioned Noʿaym b. Moqarren was sent to Hamadān at the head of an army of 12,000. The governor of Hamadān, a certain Ḵiš (Balʿami, ed. Rowšan, p. 522), or Koftār (Ebn al-Aʿṯam, II, p. 64) who claimed descent from Bahrām Čōbin (q.v.; Mostawfi, p. 180) prepared to defend the city. The Arab army besieged the town and eventually conquered it for the second time in 22/642. When Noʿaym b. Moqarren learned that Ḵošnum and other leaders had joined forces in Daštabi (the present-day Buʾin Zahrā) near Qazvin, he renewed the peace treaty with the city, appointed Yazid b. Qays al-Hama-dāni as its governor, and moved with his army to meet Ḵošnum and his allies. Along the way he conquered towns and villages as far as Jarmiḏān (the present day township of Āb-e Garm). He met the Persian forces on the banks of the Vājrud river, the present-day Āvaj river, in the northern valley of the Ḵaraqān range. In the large-scale battle that followed, the Persians suffered a heavy defeat and left behind many casualties (22/624). The Arabs hailed this as signaling an end to Persian resistance and Noʿaym himself celebrated the victory in a poem (Ṭabari, I, p. 2652; Ṭabari, tr. XIV, p. 23).

It seems, however, that Hamadān did not give up resisting Arab rule even after the decisive defeat at Vājrud. It is reported in the events of 23/643 that once Noʿaym left for the conquest of Ray and Khorasan following his victory at Vājrud, Moḡira b. Šoʿba, who had replaced ʿAmmār b. Yāser as governor of Kufa, sent Jarir b. ʿAbd-Allāh Bajali (d. 54/674) to Hamadān. The people of Hamadān rose up against him and in the course of the battle Jarir was injured in the eye by an arrow. He is said to have remarked that the loss of an eye was his offering to the Almighty, who had thus adorned his face (Ebn Qotayba, pp. 294-95; Ebn Aʿṯam, II, p. 68). At the end of the same year (23/643) Jarir conquered Hamadān and its surroundings again by force, and made peace with the populace on terms similar to those of the Nehāvand settlement. According to some sources, Moḡira himself led the expedition against Hamadān, with Jarir in command of his vanguard. According to yet another tradition, when the third Caliph ʿOṯmān (d. 35/635) appointed Saʿd b. Abi Waqqās as the governor of Kufa, he appointed ʿAlāʾ b. Wahb ʿĀmeri as governor of Hamadān, but the people of Hamadān once again broke the peace agreement and had to be forcefully subdued by ʿAlāʾ b. Wahb (26/644). They agreed to pay tax on their land (ḵarāj) as well as the poll tax (jezya), in addition to 100,000 dirhams in cash to safeguard the security of their property, women, and children (Balāḏori, p. 309; Ebn al-Aṯir, III, p. 23). During the remaining years of ʿOṯmān’s caliphate (23-35/643-55), Jarir continued to rule in Hamadān, while ʿOṯmān’s viceroys in Māh were Wahb b. ʿAbd-Allāh of Banu Qays, followed by Mālek b. Ḥabib Yarbuʿi, and Nosayr b. Ṯur ʿEjli, who was succeeded by his son Serri (Balāḏori, p. 309; Kalbi, I, p. 165; Ṭabari, I, p. 3058; Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ, I, p. 176). The next Caliph, ʿAli b. Abi Ṭāleb (35-40/655-60), came to Basra in 36/656 and dismissed the governors appointed by ʿOṯmān, including Jarir. This drove Jarir to join Moʿāwia in his campaign against ʿAli (Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ, II, p. 214; Masʿudi, Moruj, III, p. 117). After the battle of Ṣeffin, ʿAli made ʿAmr b. Salema his representative and governor of Hamadān (Abu’l-Šayḵ, I pp. 87-88; Monqori, pp. 15-20, 105). He was most likely the eponym of the Banu Salema Arabs of Hamadān, who appear in the sources on Hamadān until the 9th century. Historical sources also indicate that two other Arab tribes, the Banu Ḥanẓala and Banu Johayna, also settled in the Hamadān area (Aḏkāʾi, 1989, p. 20), while, according to a report from the year 77/969, some of the Banu ʿEjl and Rabiʿa tribes were also settled in Hamadān (Ṭabari, II, p. 994).

The conquest of Persia continued under the Omayyads and contingents of Arab tribes moved from their two centers of Baṣra and Kufa towards Persia, eventually settling in its cities and their surroundings. Occasionally they would execute the local Zoroastrian landowners (dehqān, q.v.) and divide their property among themselves (Zarrinkub, pp. 431-32), and at other times they would make peace with the local population by designating them as their own clients (mawāli) in return for a share of their wealth. Starting in the early years of the conquest in the 7th century, Hamadān, like Isfahan, Qom, and Kāšān, was on the migration route of the Arab tribes, a place of settlement and a seat of government. The ḵarāj (property tax) of Jebāl (Māhayn) and Hama-dān and their dependencies at the time of Moʿāwia amounted to about 40 million dirhams (Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ II, p. 233).

A faction of the Banu ʿEjl, having joined the revolution that began in Khorasan and ended with the fall of the Omayyads, moved to the Jebāl in the early 8th century. They settled there and acquired landas eqṭāʿs (q.v.) in the area between Hamadān and Isfahan, which was referred to as the Karaj of Banu Dolaf (the present-day Arāk, q.v.). The caliph eventually assigned to them the government of Jebāl. Abu Moslem Ḵorāsāni (q.v.), the leader of the revolution against the Omayyads, was raised among these Banu ʿEjl, who were known, as implied above, as Banu Dolaf. The Abbasids rewarded the Banu ʿEjl for their services by granting them a number of eqṭāʿs in the area. They reached the height of their power under Ḥārun al-Rašid and al-Maʾmun, when Abu Dolaf Qāsem b. ʿIsā ʿEjli Karaji (185-226/801-41) ruled over the entire Jebāl province (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 27-38). After the murder of Abu Moslem, Jebāl became a hotbed of nationalistic movements of the Ḵorramis and Mazdakites, and its populace was actively involved in the uprising of Sonbād. The Caliph al-Manṣur sent one of the same ʿEjli amirs at the head of an army of 10,000 (136-37/754-55), to quell the uprising, which he did in a battle that took place between Ray and Hamadān (Masʿudi, Moruj IV, p. 145).

The office of the tax-collector in Hamadān belonged to the already-mentioned Banu Salema tribe. The government in the city had been hereditary in this tribe since its migration to the city in the middle of the 7th century. They were charged with the levying of taxes (ḵaraj) on all estates and villages in the area as far as the borders of Qom and Qazvin. Complaints against them were so frequent that when Hārun al-Rašid reached Hamadān (189/804) on his way to Khorasan, he issued orders for reforms concerning the measurement of lands, the administrative divisions of provinces (welāyāt), and the assessment and levying of taxes (Qomi, pp. 29, 189-90, 204; Mostawfi, p. 777). The ḵarāj levied on Hamadān and Daštabi at that time amounted to 11,800,000 dirhams (Hamadān’s share of 6,000,000 dirhams was cut by half) in cash in addition to 1,000 mans of pomegranate and rhubarb concentrated juice and 20,000 raṭls (both man and raṭl are units of measurement which vary in quantity according to locality) of honey of the Alvand piedmont (Jahšiāri, p. 360) in kind. After Hārun al-Rašid, Hamadān became the main zone of warfare between the army of Khorasan supporting al-Maʾmun and that of his brother, al-Amin, coming from Iraq (190/810). At first ʿEṣma b. Ḥammād Hamadāni was in charge of the forces of al-Amin in Hamadān, but later al-Amin sent ʿIsā b. Māhān as the commander of a military force of 40,000 and the governor of Jebāl, and he also instructed Abu Dolaf ʿEjli to join ʿIsā at the head of 5,000 men. Ṭāher b. Ḥosayn, known as Ḏu’l-Yaminayn, led the army sent by al-Maʾmun. ʿIsā b. Māhān was defeated in a battle near Ray, in which he also lost his son (Šawwāl 190/September 806). Al-Amin sent another army of 20,000 under ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān b. Jabala, who met Ṭāher near Hamadān. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān was defeated and withdrew into the city. Ṭāher cut the city’s water supply, and ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān, under siege and doubtful of the loyalty of the local population, had to sue for peace (Ḏu’l-qaʿda 190/October 806). These events paved the way for the eventual victory of al-Maʾmun (Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ II, p. 438; Ebn al-Aʿṯam, VIII, pp. 225-300; Ṭabari, I, pp. 798, 827, 855).

Disturbances and movements seeking independence continued during the caliphate of al-Maʾmun with the uprising of the Ḵorramis, Mazdakites, Deylamites, and the Bāteniya, and they were often met by forces led by the above-mentioned Abu Dolaf ʿEjli (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 42-43). According to one tradition, Maʾmun gave the government of Dinavar and Hamadān to Abu Jaʿfar Moḥammad b. Jahm Barmaki, an astronomer and author of Persian descent, who is also known as a translator of Pahlavi books (Ebn Qotayba, ʿOyun al-aḵbār IV, p. 36; Qazvini, V, pp. 57-59).

With the death of Maʾmun and the caliphate of al-Moʿtaṣem (218-27/833-41), the people of Hamadān and Jebāl began to turn to Zoroastrian, Ḵorrami, and Bāṭeni religions, and the movement spread over an extensive area from Azerbaijan to Fārs and Isfahan. People rose up in rebellion in the whole area at a pre-arranged date, killed government functionaries (ʿommāl), and then set up camp in the Hamadān plain in preparation to join Bābak (q.v.), the leader of the Ḵorrami movement. The caliph dispatched an army of 40,000 men against them under Esḥāq b. Ebrāhim (Ḏu’l-ḥejja 218/833), who routed them. They dispersed, leaving behind 60,000 dead; some evidently reached Azerbaijan and Armenia (Ebn al-ʿAybi, pp. 138-39; Balʿami, ed. Rowšan, p. 1254; Neẓām-al-Molk, pp. 291-93; Ḏahabi, p. 103). Then the Caliph al-Moʿtaṣem sent Afšin (q.v.) against the Ḵorramis. Abu Dolaf ʿEjli (d. 226/840), who harbored strong resentments against Afšin, was at this time the governor of Jebāl and in charge of the military operations against the Deylamites.

The ʿEjlis ruled over part of Jebāl for one hundred years from 185/801 to 285/898, producing a number of famous amirs. At times Hamadān and Isfahan fell within the area ruled by them (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 43, 104). The administration of Hamadān up to the middle of the 3rd/9th century was in the hands of the Banu Salema tribe. From among them Abu’l-Wafāʾ Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-ʿAziz b. Salema has been mentioned as a poet and an erudite man of letters. In the mid-9th century C.E., a branch of Ḥasani sayyeds (the ʿAlawis of Hamadān) moved to Hamadān, where they rose increasingly in prestige and power, and eventually the honorific title of the headship of the town, a kind of elected mayor, became hereditary in their family up to the 13th century (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 159 ff.; idem, 1989, pp. 20-28).

With the weakening of the ʿAbbasid Caliphate (9th-11th cent.), the northern and western parts of Persia became virtually independent under Deylamite, Kurdish, and Lor rulers. Asfār b. Širuya Deylami conquered the entire Jebāl, including Hamadān and Karaj in 317/929, after the fall of the Banu ʿEjl dynasty in the 10th century, and called forth the Samanids of Khorasan. After him, one of his generals the Ziyarid Mardāvij (316-26/928-38), who rallied the Deylamites around him, emerged as the dominant figure. However, Mardāvij himself did not have sufficient resources to pay his men, and was obliged to consign various cities of Jebāl to his generals. He captured Hamadān in 319/931 and inflicted a four-day massacre on the city for its resistance against him (Masʿudi, Moruj V, pp. 262, 266-67). After Mardāvij, the Buyid ʿEmād-al-Dawla ʿAli (320-38/932-49; q.v.) was able to bring the entire area under his control with the assistance of the Ḵorrami, Shiʿite, and Zoroastrian factions. He agreed to pay the caliph in Baghdad an annual sum of 200,000 dinars for taxes levied on Hamadān and Dinavar (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 113-14; Eqbāl, p. 130).

Hamadān suffered damages in an earthquake of 345/956, and six years later it was the scene of sectarian conflicts, in which many people lost their lives (Frye, p. 105). In 366/976, the Buyid Rokn-al-Dawla Ḥasan divided his realm among his sons, giving Hamadān, Ray, and Qazvin, along with their dependencies, to Amir Faḵr-al-Dawla (r. 373-87/983-97). Faḵr-al-Dawla’s territory became the foundation of the Deylamite and Kakuid principality of Jebāl. After him, his sons Majd-al-Dawla (r. 387-420/997-1029) and Šams-al-Dawla (r. 387-412/997-1021) ruled over Ray and Hamadān respectively. Later, ʿAlaʾ-al-Dawla Kākuya, a cousin of their mother, ruled in Isfahan, and for a while brought Hamadān under his sway, after defeating its last Deylamite ruler Samāʾ-al-Dawla (r. 412-14/1021-23), son of Šams-al-Dawla. But ʿAlaʾ-al-Dawla Kākuya was himself driven out of Hamadān in 421/1030, when the Ghaznavid Sultan Masʿud I led an expedition against him (Eqbāl, pp. 163, 178, 181-84, 246). It must be noted in this connection that the same period witnessed the emergence of the power of some chieftains of the Barzekāni Kurds. Their leader, Abu’l-Fawāres Ḥasanuya/Ḥasanwayh b. Ḥasan Barzekāni (r. 348-69/958-79), captured a large part of Kurdistan (including Dinavar, Nehāvand, Šāpur-ḵᵛāst, Yazdegard, and Asadābād) in about 348/958 and made Sarmāj, a fortress to the south of Bisotun, his capital. The Ḥasanuya amirs ruled in parts of western Persia for about sixty years (345-405). The most celebrated among them was Abu Najm Badr b. Ḥasanuya (r. 369-405/981-1014), renowned for his sagacity and largesse. He was a stalwart supporter of the Deylamites of Jebāl against the Samanids of Khorasan (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 119-25).

Plate I. Distant view of Hamadān and Mount Alvand in early 20th century.

Hamadān fell to the Saljuqs in the first half of the 5th/11th century, and in the 6th/12th century, following the disintegration of the Saljuq empire, it became the capital of the branch that ruled over ʿErāq-e ʿAjam. Hamadān flourished significantly under these Saljuqs; a number of monuments dating from this period, such as Gonbad-e ʿAlawiān, are still standing. It was under the same Saljuqs that the aforementioned ʿAlawi/Šarif clan of Hama-dān, who traditionally held the city’s mayoral position from the mid-9th century to the mid-13th century, reached the zenith of their power. Two distinct periods can be recognized concerning the internal politics of Hamadān: first, From about 250-450/864-1058, when the ʿAlawi clan was predominant, and second, from about 450-650/1058-1252, when the ʿAlaʾ-al-Dawla family, whose members have been called the mountain kings (šahriārān-e kuhestān) in some panegyrics, were in control (Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 159-236, 282).

Like most Persian cities, Hamadān had its share of the ravages of the Mongol invasion. It was laid waste and a large number of its people lost their lives during the two Mongol onslaughts on the city in 618/1221 and 621/1224. Later a township arose on the north side of the city and was dubbed “New Hamadān” (Hamadān-e Now) until the city itself began to regain some degree of prosperity and significance under the Ilkhanids. Hulāgu Khan used it as a camping ground (āmādgāh) in 655/1257 and Abāqā (q.v.) died there (680/1281).

Plate II. Bridge over the river at Hamadān, Alvand in the background.

The political history of ʿErāq-e ʿAjam and Hamadān in the 8th/14th century, more specifically from the ascension of Ḡāzān Khan to the Ilkhanid throne in 694/1295 to 795/1392, when Timur (Tamerlane) started his second five-year campaign, is linked to the history of the Il-khanids, Chobanids (q.v.), and Jalayerids, as well as to that of a few (contemporaneous) members of the Mozaffarid dynasty. From 738/1337 to 787/1385, ʿErāq-e ʿAjam was ruled for the first twenty years by two Chobanid rulers, Shaikh Ḥasan-e Kuček (738-44/1337-43; q.v.) and Malek Ašraf (744-58/1343-57), then by the Jalayerids, Sultan Oways (757-76/1356-74) and Sultan Ḥosayn (776-84/1356-82; see Aḏkāʾi, 1988, pp. 244-50; idem, 1994, pp. 4607-4661). Hamadān also lay on the path of Timur during his three campaigns in the period from 788/1386 to 807/1404. After Timur, and even during his lifetime, the control of Hamadān and other cities of ʿErāq-e ʿAjam often changed hands among the Timurid princes. After the death of Šāhroḵ b. Timur (r. 807-51/1405-48), the Qara Qoyunlu Turkmen captured Hamadān, and it became part of the domain of ʿAlišakar Bahārlu (Bārāni), an amir in the service of Jahānšāh Mirzā Turkamān (841-72/1437-67); ʿAlišakar’s sons ruled over their father’s realm after him. Hamadān for a time regained its former prosperity with the rise of the Safavids (908/1503), under whom the so-called ʿAli-šakar’s domain (qalamrow-e ʿAlišakar), or Hamadān, was the administrative center of ʿErāq-e ʿAjam (Taḏkerat al-moluk, ed. Minorsky, pp. 44, 104, 163, 171).

During the 17th and 18th centuries when western Persia was often devastated by the Ottoman army, Hamadān suffered a great deal of damage and loss of life. In 1136/1724, the city was ravaged and occupied by Aḥmad Pasha, the governor of Baghdad, and most of its population were killed. Eight years later, Nāder Shah Afšār recaptured the city, chasing the Ottomans as far as Baghdad. During the Zand period (1751-89), Hamadān (still referred to as Qalamrow by the chroniclers) was under their sway. It was during this same period that the Qaraguzlu tribe emerged as an influential element in the politics and military affairs of the city. Hamadān fell to Āḡā Moḥammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, in 1205/1789, and he had the old fortress situated on MosÂallā Hill demolished.

Thanks to its favorable strategic location, Hamadān regained some of its prosperity as a commercial center in the course of the 18th century, but the local population was continuously oppressed and mistreated by the Qaraguzlu chieftains, leading to frequent popular protests and disturbances.

Hamadān joined the Constitutional Movement (q.v.) at the outset, and this led to the early establishment of modern institutions of local government, such as a city council and departments of education, justice, etc. During World War I, Hamadān was frequently occupied by the Ottoman, British, and Russian forces in turn, and it went through a period of severe famine. However, there was a revival of the city after the war, particularly in the cultural and educational spheres (Aḏkaʾi, 1992, pp. 10-11).


For an extensive bibliography of Hamadān, see Parviz Aḏkāʾi, Ketābšenāsi-e Hamadān, Hamadān, 1373 Š./1994.

ʿAbd-Allāh b. Moḥammad Abu’l-Šayḵ, Ṭabaqāt al-moḥaddeṯin I, Beirut 1987.

Parviz Aḏkāʾi, Farmānfarmāyān-e gomnām, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.

Idem, “Abu’l-Wafāʾ Hamadāni,” Taḥ-qiqāt-e eslāmi IV/1-2, 1368 Š./1989, pp. 20-28.

Idem, Rāhnemā-ye Hamadān, Hamadān, 1371 Š./1992.

Idem, “Hamadān dar sada-ye haštom,” in Nāmvāra-ye Doktor Afšār VIII, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994, pp. 4607-61.

Idem, Hamadān-nāma, Hamadān, 1380 Š./ 1991 (containing a Persian version of the present article).

Balāḏori, Fotuḥ. Abu ʿAli Moḥammad Balʿami, ed. Rowšan. Moḥammad b. Aḥmad Ḏahabi, [Ketāb] Dowal al-eslām, Hyderabad, 1337/1919.

Ebn al-Aʿṯam al-Kufi, al-Fotuḥ, Hyderabad, 1968-75.

Ebn al-Aṯir. Ebn al-ʿEbri, Moḵtaṣar al-dowal, repr. Qom, 1403/1982.

Ebn Qotayba, al-Maʿāref, ed. Ṯarwat ʿOkāša, Cairo, 1960.

Idem,ʿOyun al-aḵbār, ed. Aḥmad Zaki, Cairo, 1925-30.

ʿAbbās Eqbāl, Tāriḵ-e-mofaṣṣal-e Irān, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.

Richard N. Frye, “Hamadhān,” in EI2. A. V. Williams Jackson, Persia Past and Present, New York and London, 1906, pp. 146-50.

Ebn ʿAbdus al-Jahšiāri, Ketāb al-Wozarā, Pers. tr., Abu’l-Fażl Ṭabāṭabāʾi, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.

Masʿudi, Moruj, ed. Pellat. Abu Naṣr Monqori, Waqʿat Ṣeffin, ed. ʿAbd-al-Salām Hārun, Cairo, 1382.

Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi, Tāriḵ-e gozida, ed. ʿAbd-al-Hoṟsayn Navāʾi, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960.

Neẓām-al-Molk, Siar al-moluk, ed. Hubert Darke, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961.

Moḥammad Qazvini, Yāddāšthā-ye Qazvini, 10 vols., ed. Iraj Afšār (Iradj Afshar), Tehran, 1337-1354 Š./1958-1975.

Qomi, Tāriḵ-e Qom, ed. Sayyed Jalāl-al-din Ṭehrāni, Tehran, 1313 Š./1934.

Ḥasan Rumlu, ed. Navāʾi, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970.

Ṭabari, and Ṭabari, tr. Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ, ed. M. T. Houtsma as Historiae, Leiden, 1883.

ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Zarrinkub, Tāriḵ-e-Irān baʿd az eslām, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964.


The city of Hamadān, besides its pre-Islamic remains, comprises some important monuments belonging to the Islamic period. Pre-Islamic remains of Hamadān are located at three different sites: Tappa-ye Hegmatāna, the Šir-e Sangi area, and the Achaemenid inscriptions of Darius the Great and Xerxes, engraved on the rocks in one of the foothills of the mountain, Alvand Kuh (q.v.) and known as Ganj-nāma (q.v.).

Tappa-ye Hegmatāna. Named after the reconstruction of the ancient name of Hamadān, the Tappa, a large mound in the northeast of the city, has been the object of archeological excavations since the 1980s. Although these excavations have not yet yielded any material that can be firmly related to the capital of the Medes, they have revealed impressive architectural remains in mud-brick, which may date from as early as the 5th century B.C.E. (Ṣarrāf, 1995; Boucharlat, 1997, pp. 39-40).

Tappa-ye Moṣallā. A natural hill (600 x 400 m) in the southeast of the city, the Tappa is higher and larger than Tappa-ye Hegmatāna, but aside from the remains of a presumably Islamic fort(qalʿa) in mud-brick, it does not seem to contain archeological remains (Schmidt, Plates 91-92; Moṣṭafawi, pp. 157-58; Jackson, pp. 163-65).

Ganj-nāma (q.v.; PLATE I).This monument is the popular designation of two trilingual inscriptions in three languages (OPers., Neo-Babylonian, and Neo-Elamite) by the Achaemenid Darius I and Xerxes in a pass through the Alvand Kuh (Kent, Old Persian, pp. 111, 113, 147, 152). It is first mentioned by Ebn al-Faqih Hamadāni, who refers to the location as Tabanābar and adds that Alexander the Great had it read to him when he was passing through Hamadān. He also cites an alleged translation of the inscriptions in a fanciful language extolling truthfulness (Ebn al-Faqih, pp. 223-24). The natives of Hamadān believed that the inscription contained the secrets of a hidden treasure (hence the designation Ganj-nāma “treasure book”), which would be revealed to the person who could decipher it (Jackson, pp. 170-73; Aḏkāʾi, pp. 224-34).

Šir-e sangi (PLATE II). One of the ancient relics of Hamadān is Šir-e Sangi, which, in its present form, represents the battered image of a legless, couchant lion carved out of yellow sandstone. It was originally placed near a city gate called Bāb-al-Asad, on the top of a hill that commanded the Khorasan road. According to Masʿudi (Moruj, secs. 3592-94), it was carved at the order of Alexander the Great as a talisman to protect the city and its people when he returned from his campaign in Khorasan and India. According to Ebn al-Faqih (pp. 240-41), this lion was fashioned by the Greek sculptor Balinās, at the order of Qobād, to be a talisman against the floods and the severe cold that the city was often experiencing. There were also other talismans placed near it that were believed to protect citizens against snakes, scorpions, fever, insects, and getting stuck in snow. Masʿudi attributed the removal of the lion from the vicinity of the gate and its mutilation to Ziarid Mardāvij during his siege and conquest of the city in 319/931 (Moruj, sec. 3593). A. V. William Jackson was of the opinion that the it might date from the Median period, “when it may have anticipated the lion of the royal Persian emblem” (Jackson, p. 162). According to Ebn al-Faqih (p. 243), the ʿAbbasid caliph al-Moktafi be’llāh ordered the transfer of the lion to Baghdad, but his command was blocked by the people of Hamadān, who did not wish to lose the talisman of their city. Popular belief in the miraculous power of the lion has continued up to recent decades, as manifested in a variety of rituals that people performed to appeal to it (Aḏkāʾi, pp. 260-63; Qarāguzlu, pp. 100-101). The lion has been addressed in at least two classical Arabic poems mentioned by Ebn al-Faqih (pp. 240-43) and in an English verse by the American poet and novelist, Clinton Scollard (d. 1932), in whose words: this lion, “… a couchant lion lone/Mute memorial in stone/of three empires overthrown—Median, Persian, Parthian—/Round the walls of Hamadan” (apud Jackson, p. 159).

Esther and Mordechai. The mausoleum of Esther and her uncle Mordechai is, historically but not archeologically, amongst the most ancient monuments of the city (see PLATE I in viii. below). The two tombs inside the structure are believed to house the remains of the biblical Esther and Mordechai from the time of Xerxes (biblical Ahasuerus, q.v.), the Achaemenid king of the 5th century B.C.E. (see ESTHER AND MORDECHAI; ESTHER, BOOK OF). The building, dating from the early 17th century according to Ernst Herzfeld (apud Gabbay, p. 23), bears the traditional features of emāmzāda (q.v.) architecture, and is revered by Muslims and Jews alike, for whom it is a place of pilgrimage. Unfortunately, no archeological research has been carried out to establish whether the graves are in fact those of Esther and Mordechai. Some scholars have questioned the authenticity of the attribution, and it has been suggested that the tomb may be that of the Jewish queen of the Sasanian Yazdegerd I (399-420), Šōšan-doḵt, who according to legend is credited with the establishment of large Jewish communities in Isfahan and Hamadān (Jackson, pp. 167-69; Matheson, pp. 110-11; The Standard Jewish Encyclopaedia, p. 830). The mausoleum housed a 300-year old Torah “written in vellum” that was kept in a room next to the grave chamber. The oldest datable material in the mausoleum was the ebony sarcophagus attributed to Esther, which had an inscription carved all over it in Hebrew characters, and which could be dated to the 13th–14th century; but the sarcophagus was destroyed in a fire caused by lit candles that pilgrims had placed on it; the new coffer is a replica of the old one (Jackson, pp. 167-70; Buckingham, pp. 166-67, containing the Eng. translation of the inscriptions on the two sarcophagi; Moṣṭafawi, p. 174; Gabbay, pp. 23-25; Aḏkāʾi, pp. 297-301; Qarāguzlu, pp. 103-10). The shrine reportedly housed a number of valuable ancient relics, including (according to unsubstantiated reports) the crowns of Esther and Mordechai, which have been stolen (Ẓahir-al-Dawla, apud Qarāguzlu, pp. 109-11).

In 1971, as part of the festival celebrating 2500 years of Persian monarchy, the Iranian Jewish Society decided to have the dilapidated shrine renovated; it had been vandalised, robbed, and also used as a burial ground by some influential Jewish families. The plan was to have a new synagogue and a museum presenting “the history of Iranian Jews from Esther to the Pahlavis” attached to the shrine. The museum was never built due to the shortage of funds as well as the demand to have the building ready for the upcoming festival. Many artefacts that were unearthed during the construction were, unfortunately, thrown away (Gabbay, p. 29).

Gonbad-e ʿAlawiān (PLATE III). Two hundred meters to the west of Tappa-ye Hegmatāna, stands the most significant architectural monument of Hamadān, the mausoleum called Gonbad-e ʿAlawiān. It is a square, relatively massive monument, almost entirely made of baked brick (for the plan, see Herzfeld). Its façade was once covered with opulent stucco decoration in high relief, depicting motifs of leaves, blossoms, vines and tendrils in interwoven patterns, in which Arthur Pope saw the ancient invocation for abundance and fertility. The building provides “the most complete example of stucco encrustation that survives in Persia” (Pope, p. 1301). The interior consists of a chamber (8 x 8 m), the walls of which are richly decorated with stuccoes. The monument was “the mausoleum of the ʿAlawiān family, who virtually ruled Hamadān for some two hundred years” (Matheson, p. 111). The tombs of two members of the family lie in the crypt reached by a staircase inside the tower. Moḥammad-Taqi Moṣṭafawi believed that the monument was originally the ḵānaqāh of the ʿAlawiān family, in which some of them were later buried. In absence of any inscription, the exact date of the building is uncertain. However, because of some extreme similarities with other Saljuq monuments, such as the Gonbad-e sorḵ (q.v.) in Marāḡa in Azerbaijan, which bears the date of 542/1147, it is reasonable to date it from the 12th century.

Borj-e qorbān “Tower of sacrifice.” This edifice is a monumental tower with a twelve-sided conical cupola, located to the south of the city, not far from the Moṣallā hill. Inside the tower, there is a crypt, where fragments of a tombstone of Safavid times could still be seen in place about forty years ago. There are, however, reasons to believe that the building may date from the 13th-14th century period. The tower consists of the tomb chamber of Ḥāfeẓ Abu’l-ʿAlāʾ, a religious figure of the Saljuq period (Moṣṭafawi, pp. 188-91). According to Jackson, on certain occasions, people sacrificed a camel inside the tower, which was believed to have been originally a Zoroastrian fire temple (Jackson, p. 162; Qarā-guzlu, pp. 136-38).

Tombs of prominent figures. Hamadān is also famous for being the burial place of two highly eminent and celebrated figures, Abu ʿAli Sinā (d. 428/1037), better known as Ebn Sinā (see AVICENNA), and the mystic poet Bābā Ṭāher (d. 408/1017; q.v.). Avicenna was buried in a large but humble, rectangular building inside a courtyard that was frequented mostly by dervishes. The original tomb had been repaired in 1294/1877 by a Qajar princess by the name of Negār Ḵānom. This structure was unfortunately destroyed and replaced by a modern one (PLATE IV) in 1951. “The tomb of the mystic poet, Shaikh Abu Saʿid Doḵduh, Ebn Sinā’s host while he lived in Hamadān, is also housed in the same mausoleum” (Matheson, p. 110; Jackson, p. 165-67; Moṣṭafawi, pp. 1-54), as is also that of the poet ʿĀref Qazvini (q.v.).

The modern tomb of the mystic poet Bābā Ṭāher (PLATE V) was previously in a ruined tower on a hilltop in the northwestern outskirts of the city. It was replaced by a modern one that imitates that of Ebn Sina. An inscription in Kufic script belonging to the 13th century was found in the tomb tower at the time of its replacement by the modern one (Moṣṭfawi, pp. 194-204).

Congregational mosque (PLATE VI). Hamadān’s congregational mosque (Masjed-e jāmeʿ) was built in 1253/1838, according to an inscribed brick placed in the main façade of its ayvān. The mosque is an impressive structure with a massive entrance pierced with an ayvān, and two minarets. In the outskirts of the city; outside, there is even a series of small shrines (emāmzāda, q.v.) which are not without architectural interest, but in the absence of an inscription their date cannot be established.



Parviz Aḏkāʾi, Hamadān-nāma: bistgoftār dar bāra-ye Mādestān, Hamadān, 2001.

J. S. Buckingham, Travels in Assyria, Media, and Persia … , London, 1829; repr., London, 1971.

Rémy Boucharlat, “Découvertes récentes en Iran (1980-1997),” in Archéologia 339, 1997, pp. 32-45.

Idem, “A la recherché d’Ecbatane sur tepe Hegmataneh,” in Iranica Antiqua 33, 1998, pp. 173-86.

Yassi Gabbay, “Esther’s Tomb,” in Houman Sarshar, ed., Esther’s Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews, Los Angeles, 2002, pp. 19-29.

Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Qarāguzlu, Hegmatāna tā Hamadān: qadimtarin šahr-emā, Tehran, n.d.

Ernst Herzfeld, “Die Gumbad-i Alawiyan und die Baukunst der Ilkhane in Iran,” in Oriental Studies Presented to E. G. Browne, Cambridge, 1922.

Abraham V. William Jackson, Persia Past and Present: A Book of Traveland Research, New York and London, 1906, pp. 159 ff.

H. Luschey, “Der Lôwe von Ekbatana,” AMI, N.S., 1, 1968, pp. 115-22 and plates 45-47.

Sylvia A. Matheson, Persia: An Archaeological Guide, London, 1972.

Moḥammad-Taqi Moṣṭafawi, Hegmatāna: āṯār-e tāriḵi-e Hamadān, Tehran, 1953.

Arthur Upham Pope, “Architectural Ornaments,” in A Survey of Persian Art III, Tokyo, 1964, pp. 1258-364.

Moḥammad-Raḥim Ṣarrāf, “Nowyāftahā-ye meʿmāri wa šahr-sāzi dar Tappa-ye Hegmatāna (Hamadān),” Tāriḵ-e meʿmāri wa šahrsāzi-e Irān, Arg-e Bam-e Kermān Congress, 7-12 Esfand, 1374 II, Tehran, 1995, pp. 812-40.

Idem, “Neue architektonische und städtebauliche Funde von Ekbatana-Tepe (Hamadān),” AMI 29, pp. 321-39.

Erich F. Schmidt, Flights over Ancient Cities of Iran, Chicago, 1940.

Eric Schroeder, “Islamic Architecture. F: Seljuq Period,” in Arthur Upham Pope, ed., A Survey of Persian Art III, Tokyo, 1964, pp. 981-1045.

Mirzā ʿAli Khan Ẓahir-al-Dawla, Ḵaṭerāt wa asnād-e Ẓahir-al-Dawla, ed. Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1988.


The earliest reference to the Jews in Hamadān is in The Old Testament, according to which a group of Israelites were brought to the Persian plateau by King Shalmaneser of Assyria in around 722 B.C.E. (2 Kings 18.11) and “settled there in the cities of the Medes.” Based on Hamadān’s size and importance as the royal city or the capital of the Medes (Dandamaev and Lukonin, p. 48), it is reasonable to assume that many of these Jews settled there, making Hamadān’s Jewish community the oldest outside Israel. According to Habib Levy “the Jews of Hamadān believe they are of the tribe of Simeon [one of the twelve Tribes of Israel], most of them having chosen the name ‘Simeon’ for their male children in generations past” (Levy, p. 28).

The only specific documentation we have regarding any individual Jew in Hamadān during the earlier parts of Persian history pertains to individual historical figures. The oldest of these is the Jewish Sasanian queen Šušandoḵt (daughter of the reš galutha or exilarch (q.v.) of Persia, wife of the Sasanian king Yazdegerd I (r. 399-420), and mother of Bahrām Gōr (q.v.), to whom an ancient Pahlavi source ascribes the founding of Hamadān (The JewishEncyclopedia VII, p. 1219). Next is Yudḡān, or Yehuda Hamadāni, who flourished in the middle of the 8th century during the rise to power of the ʿAbbasid caliphate. He claimed to be a prophet and led a Jewish sect known as the Yudḡdāniya, a messianic sectarian movement originated by Abu ʿIsā Eṣfahāni (q.v.). His followers believed him to be the Messiah (The JewishEncyclopedia XVI, p. 867).

The relative religious freedom that existed in Persia at Yudḡān’s time had widespread effects on the Jewish communities throughout the land, but in Hamadān in particular. It was during this same period that religious authorities (rabbanim) of the two Talmudic schools in Iraq were able to increase their influence over the Jewish communities of Persia, opening yeshivas, or Jewish religious schools, in Hamadān, and dispatching eminent instructors there to educate people and answer their religious questions (Levy, p. 186). As a result, Hamadān became an important center for Jewish culture and religious education in Persia until the late 18th century.

Another significant historical figure is Rašid-al-Din Fażl-Allāh Hamadāni (648–718/1250–1318), the statesman, physician, and author of the celebrated history of the Mongols, Jāmeʿ al-tawāriḵ. Rašid-al-Din was born in Hamadān into a Jewish family with a tradition in the medical profession. His father, ʿEmād-al-Dawla Abu’l-Ḵayr, was a pharmacist. Rašid-al-Din is said to have converted to Islam at the age of thirty. Some scholars have questioned, however, his Jewish origin (Netzer, pp. 118-25). Rašid-al-Din entered the services of the Il- Khan Abaqa (q.v.) as a physician, and in 1298 he was appointed the associate vizier by Ḡāzān Khan and remained in office under Ḡāzān’s successors Moḥammad Ḵodā-banda Öljeitü and Abu Saʿid Bahādor Khan. Subsequent to Öljeitü’s death, Rašid-al-Din finally succumbed to the tireless intrigues of his rivals and, after a temporary disgrace and retirement, was tried for having allegedly poisoned Öljeitü, and was put to death in Tabriz in July 1318, Jomāda I 718 (See ABU SAʿID BAHĀDOR KHAN).


Apart from the biographical facts we have about the individuals mentioned above, little is known about the lives of Jews in Hamadān until the middle of the 19th century. The only exception is a mention in the Ketāb-e anusi by Bābāʾi ben Loṭf (q.v.) of the persecution of Jews by the khan of Hamadān during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās II (1642–66; Levy pp. 326-28). While the harassing and forced conversion of Jews was a common affair from the beginning of the Safavid dynasty onward, under Shah ʿAbbās’s grand vizier, Moḥammad Beg, Persian Jews lived through an exceptionally difficult and extended period of persecution (Moreen, 2002, p. 65). According to Bābāʾi ben Loṭf’s verse chronicles, they were forced by the khan to convert to Islam and close their synagogues. Shortly thereafter, the khan is reported to have extorted money from the new-converts to allow them to return to their Jewish faith and reopen the synagogues. Hearing of the events, Moḥammad Beg sent an angry letter to the khan, who consequently imprisoned all the Jews and demanded a large ransom for their release. The women were released to raise the funds, which took nearly two months. Upon the release of the rest of the community, they were all forced once again to convert to Islam (Moreen, 1987, pp. 101-2). While Bābāʾi does indeed dedicate a section of the Ketāb-e anusi to Hamadān, exact details about the town’s community are scarce as the book concentrates predominantly on the communities of Kāšān and Isfahan. Moreover, poetic license and the need to abide by restrictions of meter and rhyme make the text a relatively unreliable source in terms of accuracy of data. Nevertheless, the events themselves are confirmed by other sources such as the ʿAbbās-nāma of Waḥid Qazvini and the history of the Iranian Armenians by the Armenian priest Ārākel of Tabriz (See BABAʾI BEN LOṬF, p. 298). From then on, we have little documentation about the lives of Jews in Hamadān up until the middle of the 19th century.


Population. Louis Dubeux (p. 26) writes that there were approximately 600 Jewish households in Hamadān in 1818. About thirty years later Benjamin II (p. 204) estimates that the Jewish community in Hamadān at the time of his visit (ca. 1850) consisted of about 500 families. They had three synagogues and three mollās (rabbis).

Jacob Eduard Polak, the Jewish Austrian physician who served in Persia in the years 1855-61, wrote of the Jews of Hamadān: “The Jews earn their living by all kinds of gold- and silver-work, in which they are as clever as the Caucasians; by glass-cutting, silk-weaving, dealing in old clothes and skins. Many of them are masons, blacksmiths, tailors, and shoemakers; some practice medicine … . They live under great difficulties, because they are considered as outcasts; they are constantly exposed to the caprices of the governor, who uses every pretext to plunder them” (Polak, p. 440 as quoted in The Jewish Encyclopedia VI, p. 188). Hayyim Cohen, on the other hand, states that the economic conditions of Jews in Hamadān was “generally good” in the 19th century. “As far back as the early 1870s, they were permitted to maintain shops in the market, in contrast to the restriction in the other Iranian cities. Hamadān in the nineteenth century was a commercial center through which merchandise sent from Iraq to Tehran passed, and Jews from Iraq as well came to settle there” (Cohen, p. 95). Cohen’s account is corroborated by Charles Issawi, according to whom, at the end of the century, “Jews were prominent in the import of cotton textiles from Manchester through Baghdad” and close to 80 percent of the [Kermānšāh and Hamadān] trade was in the hands of Jewish traders (Issawi, p. 62). In his report dated 20 April, 1868, Thomson states that there were 2,000 Jews living in Hamadān, which, according to his figures, was the largest Jewish community in Persia at that time. He also writes that while the collective tax burden of Hama-dān’s Jewish community to the crown was 600 tomans, “double the amount is extracted” from them (Issawi, p. 32). According to Ephraim Neumark, who traveled through Hamadān around 1885, there were about 800 Jewish families (approximately 5,000 individuals) living there at the time. He also mentions three synagogues in Hamadān, and names Ḥāji Meir Elʿazar and Ḥakim Abraham Shofet as two of the leaders in the Jewish community (Neumark, pp. 79-81). A. V. William Jackson, who was in Hamadān in 1903, estimated the number of Jews at 5,000 souls. He also referred to the Jewish quarter in the southern section of the city (Jackson, p. 148).

Persecution. In 1866 the Alliance Israélite Universelle received a telegraph from Baghdad with news that the leader of Hamadān’s Jewish community was on the verge of being executed in Tehran. When the news reached London, Sir Moses Montefiore wanted to travel to Persia to intervene but was advised by the British foreign ministry that the journey could be dangerous for his health due to his advanced age (Levy, p. 454). According to Levy, in 1875 an anti-Semitic riot led to the brutal death of at least one of the town’s Jewish citizens, named Yehuda Bābā Samāh. Accused of heresy, Bābā Samāh was dragged before the mojtahed Ḥāji Mirzā Hādi, who ordered his execution and incited the angry mob against the entire Jewish community. Yehuda Bābā Samah was stabbed to death in Mirzā Hādi’s presence and his corpse was dragged to the Jewish cemetery, where it was burned by the mob. Riots ensued and the massacre of the Jews continued for several days (Levy, p. 461). Homā Nāṭeq records another incident that apparently took place during the very same period. On 17 August 1875, a jeweler by the name of Ḥayim Jawāherforuš went to claim money he was owed from one of the city’s tradesmen. Looking for a way not to reimburse his debt, the unidentified tradesman rallied the mob against the Jewish jeweler, who fled to the home of one of the town’s mojtaheds for shelter. The latter tried to resolve the situation, but was unable to hold back the rioting mob. Ḥayim was dragged out of the mojtahed’s house, at which point the mob poured gunpowder in his mouth and set it ablaze. The jeweler’s corpse was subsequently dragged through town and dumped in the city center. It is reported that the mojtahed’s house was also looted in retribution for his attempt to protect the Jew (Nāṭeq, pp. 98-99).

In 1892, social conditions once again became very difficult for the Jews of Hamadān. This time, the riots were incited by Hamadān’s chief clergymen Mollā ʿAbd-Allāh. The event marked the beginning of what arguably constituted the darkest documented chapter in the life of Hamadān’s Jewish community since the rise of the Qajar dynasty. When a concession for the production of tobacco in Persia was given to the British in September of 1892, the clergy led the opposition movement and organized strikes until they succeeded in abolishing the concession. Their success increased their influence on the masses, leading many clergymen throughout Persia to exploit their newly found power and impose their will in various ways. Earlier that year, Mollā ʿAbd-Allāh had forced a Jewish girl in Hamadān to convert to Islam and subsequently married her to a Muslim man (Levy, p. 443). As the general unrest increased over the tobacco concessions, Mollā ʿAbd-Allāh took advantage of the opportunity to further molest Hamadān’s Jewish community. He summoned a delegation of the community’s leaders and decreed to them a fatwā to the effect that the Jews were to start abiding by twenty-two restrictions, many of which dated back to the beginning of the Safavid dynasty (for a complete list of these restrictions, see Nāṭeq, pp. 102-3; Cohen, pp. 56-57). According to the fatwā, it was prohibited for any Muslim to sell foodstuff to Jews, and Jews were not allowed to leave their home on rainy days. In addition, Jews were forced to sow a red “Jewish” patch (waṣla-ye judi) on their clothes, and “were ordered not to wear socks and to wear torn clothing, outerwear of special color, or no ʿabās (q.v.). Jewish men were also forced to shave the front of their hair” and the women had to wear a black veil (ruband) as opposed to the white one worn by Muslim women (Sahim, 2002, p. 189). “Only after several Jews succeeded in telegraphing the Shah about their situation, did an order reach the district governor to send Mollā ʿAbd-Allāh to Tehran. But this command was not obeyed and the mollā again summoned a Jewish delegation, making its members affix their signatures to the terms on which they would live in the city” (Cohen, p. 55). Subsequently, Mollā ʿAbd-Allāh rallied an anti-Semitic mob to storm the synagogue on the eve of Yom Kippur, Friday 30 September 1892, in retaliation for the action the Jewish community had taken against him by complaining to the authorities (Levy, p. 443). While many of the members of the congregation were able to run away in time and find their way home, all of those trapped by the mob were forced to convert to Islam under the threat of death. This time the central government tried to intervene by sending security forces to Hamadān to pacify the city and deliver Mollā ʿAbd-Allāh to Tehran, but the mollā’s supporters rioted against them and successfully thwarted their efforts. The central government was consequently forced to relent, telling the Jews that they were obliged to accept the restrictions (Levy, p. 444). According to the Bulletin of the Alliance Israélite Universelle “many of the Jews had come under house arrest and life had become virtually intolerable. Nursing babies died of starvation in their mother’s arms as their mother’s milk had dried up” (Bulletin of the Alliance Israélite Universelle 18, 1892, p. 48). While the fatwā restricting the sale of foodstuffs was eventually rescinded through the intercession of the Ottoman consul, the rest of the restrictions remained in place (Levy, p. 444). They were so strictly enforced that on a number of occasions some of the town’s Jewish citizens were subjected to severe corporal punishment for not abiding by them. On 9 January 1893, for instance, one of the leaders of the Jewish community by the name of Ebrāhim Yaʿqub was arrested on the street for failing to wear the Jewish patch and taken to the home of Sayyed ʿAbd-al-Majid, one of the town’s clergymen, where he was beaten with a stick to near death (Nāṭeq, pp. 104-5). Though Mollā ʿAbd-Allāh was eventually brought to Tehran due to pressure from the British government, he was soon released and returned to Hamadān at the beginning of 1894. “The prime minister of Tehran explained this step to the British ambassador by stating that the mulla who succeeded Abdollah was worse than him. Despite the fact that the Mulla Abdollah had obtained his release by promising to prevent harm being done to the Jews, on his return to Hamadān he renewed the brutal treatment” (Cohen, p. 57). According to Levy (p. 444), the pressure on the Jews of Hamadān continued until the beginning of 1900. During this period, many converted to Islam, Christianity, and especially the Babi/Bahai religion (see below). Many others emigrated to Tehran (for a more detailed account of the Hamadān incident, see Sahim, 2003; see also Anglo-Jewish Association Report, 1892/93, pp. 19-24, 55-63; 1893/94, p. 18; 1894/95, pp. 13-14; 1895/96, pp. 23-24).

Conversion. Hamadān’s Jewish community was also faced with the constant threat of voluntary conversion (see CONVERSION iv and v), especially during the second half of the 18th century. In this period, conversions in Hamadān were common enough that on occasion one would even see Jews, Babi/Bahais, and Christians all belonging the same immediate family (Sarshar, p. 201). Conversion to Christianity was mainly due to the European and American missionary activities in Hamadān. Those who converted to Christianity were, for the most part, young men who received their education in the school of the American Mission. According to George Curzon, there were about a hundred Jews in that school in the early 1890s (Curzon, Persian Question I, p. 510). Besides, many Jewish physicians in Hamadān who received their medical training in the American Hospital would also convert to the Christian faith. According to Cohen, “not many Jews adopted Christianity and those who did so were enticed by the money which the missionaries distributed, or wished to escape from their life of humiliation, and hoped that the diplomatic representatives in Persia would protect them as Christians” (Cohen, p. 162). The greater majority of Jewish-born converts, however, converted to the Babi/Bahai faith. According to Susan Stiles Maneck, the first Jew to convert to the Bahai faith in Hamadān was a physician by the name of Ḥakim Āqā Jān who, in 1877, “was called upon to treat the malaria stricken wife of Muhammad Bāqer,” a prominent Bahai in town (Maneck, p. 37). As she nearly died, Āqā Jān feared violent repercussions not only towards himself but the entire Jewish community. When Moḥammad-Bāqer assured Āqā Jān that he would not hold him responsible, Āqā Jān, judging by his reaction, assumed that Moḥammad-Bāqer could not be a Muslim and hence inquired about his religion. When Āqā Jān found out that Moḥammad-Bāqer was a Bahai, he became curious about the faith and eventually “embraced it along with some forty friends and family members, including his father, a leading rabbi of the town” (Maneck, p. 38; for more on the conversion of Jews to the Bahai faith, see Fischel). Reports suggest that by 1884, 150 of the 800 Jewish families in Hamadān had converted to Bahaism (Levy, p. 423).

While there was no doubt a range of reasons why the Jews of Hamadān were converting to Bahaism or Christianity at such a high rate during these years, one of the irrefutable causes was the atmosphere of extreme anti-Semitism, hostility, and oppression in which the Jews lived. The notion of ritual impurity(nejāsat) was one of the central issues generating this general atmosphere of intolerance and oppression. Though in essence aimed at all non-Shiʿites, for reasons still debated the notion of impurity was most vehemently associated with Jews. Perpetuating this discriminatory practice, religious authorities like Mollah ʿAbd-Allāh in 1892 issued random decrees prohibiting Jews from coming into contact with Muslims, touching food in Muslim shops, or selling edibles to Muslims. These decrees further prohibited Jews from using Muslim public baths, drinking from public wells, or walking in the streets on rainy days lest they transmit their alleged impurity to Shiʿite citizens through water. Since restrictions based on impurity were not imposed on Christians and Bahais, many Jews proselytized in order to evade the humiliating discrimination, marginalization, confinement, and disenfranchisement that ensued from issues of impurity With this said, it is worth examining why the Bahai faith in particular was able to attract the Jews more than Christianity, especially given that the Bahais were also subject to persecution by the Muslim majority. One possible hypothesis for this dynamic could be the fact that Bahaism offered itself as a sort of ideological melting-pot indigenous to Persia. That is to say, since Bahaism had originated in Persia and furthermore defined itself as a non-exclusionary faith and the culmination of all other religions, it potentially provided all Persian citizens with an ideological meeting ground that maintained many of the essential characteristics of a cultural, social, and national identity (in all senses of the word) without the majority of the ethnic, tribal, or religious differentials. A Jewish convert could thus fit into this new religion by ‘melting’ into a more inclusive and comprehensive religious ideology without having to give up his/her identity as a Persian. Bahaism thus offered the hope of assimilation to a severely marginalized subculture, without threatening to strip the converts of their more primary socio-cultural identity and ideological heritage. Christianity and Zoroastrianism could not offer the same hope. As a Western ideology, the former threatened the convert’s socio-cultural identity; as a non-Abrahamic faith, the latter was essentially incongruent with the Jews’ religious heritage.


In 1900 the first Alliance Israélite Universelle school opened in Hamadān. This event marked the beginning of a gradual but momentous sequence of improvements in the lives and social conditions of the town’s Jewish community. The school’s first directors were Monsieur and Madame Bassan, who arrived in Hamadān in June 1900. In its first year, the school registered 215 girls and 346 boys ranging in age from seven to twenty-two (Cohen, p. 144). It was the first Alliance school in Persia to have a school for girls. All students had to wear a school uniform based on European clothing. What is more, in the year of its inauguration the Alliance school succeeded in abolishing once and for all the mandate for the Jewish patch in Hamadān and substituting it with a metal pin bearing the school’s emblem (Sahim, 2002, p. 189). While the boys followed a more classical French curriculum, the girls’ education consisted predominantly of home economics. All girls graduated from the Alliance school by the age fourteen, which was the average marriage age in Persia at that time (Nāṭeq, pp. 118-19). In its first year, Hamadān’s Alliance school also enrolled thirty Muslim students, an event that would later prove invaluable in the gradual assimilation of the Jews into the larger Muslim majority, a dynamic that was not restricted to Hama-dān. The Alliance school remained fully operational until the revolution of 1978-79, at which time the school had over 1,000 students, only 100 of which were Jewish (interview conducted by author with Parvin Moʿtamed, January 2003).

The activities of various Jewish organizations that started in Hamadān as early as 1910 suggest that the Alliance Israélite Universelle’s education campaign was quick to bear fruit. According to Avi Davidi, the first Zionist organization in Persia was established by a group of young Jews in Hamadān in 1910. “This group organized the first Hebrew study group and, between 1915 and 1916, published the first Zionist newspaper, Šalom, in Judeo-Persian under Mordechai Šalom’s editorship” (Davidi, p. 240). It was also in Hamadān that the first association of the Jewish women of Persia, known as Women’s Assembly (Majles-e zanhā) and also as The Association of Jewish Women (Anjoman-e neswān-e yahudi), was established. It was founded by ʿArus Ḵānom in the very early 1920s and focused on educating Jewish women on various issues of religion, home-care, and health-care. The society also taught courses in Torah studies and held reading groups for the magazine ʿĀlam-e neswān (q.v.), published in Tehran since 1920 (Sarshar, p. 242). Hamadān’s Association of Jewish Women later became a chapter of Sāzemān-e bānovān-e yahud-e Irān (Jewish Iranian Women’s Organization). One of the many activities of the Jewish Women’s Association in Hamadān was to establish the Benevolent Orphanage, founded under the directorship of Farida Šafāhi (Moʿtamed, 2003).


By 1950s Hamadān had five synagogues. The oldest was a small prayer room located in the shrine of Esther and Mordechai (q.v.) which housed numerous old Torahs, many of which are no longer there today (Gabbay, p. 23). It had a capacity of 20 to 30 people. The largest synagogue in Hamadān, Kenisa-ye Bozorg (lit. the Big Synagogue) was located on Bābā Ṭāher Avenue and had the total capacity of 350 people. The sanctuary was split into two levels. The second level or the balcony held 120 people and was allocated to women. The synagogue also had a small annex named after its patron Ḥāji Hay, which held an additional 150, and a small living quarter, referred to as ḡarib-ḵāna, where travelers, immigrants, and those in need were temporarily housed. It possessed ten Torah scrolls. The second largest synagogue was Kenisa-ye Mollā Rebi (or Rabiʿ), also known as Kenisa-ye Yaʿqub Yāri after the patron who funded its renovation between the two World Wars. Located near Darb-e Ḥakim-ḵāna on Kuča-ye Sayyedhā, Kenisa-ye Mollā Rebi was the second oldest synagogue in Hamadān. Its earliest known rabbi was Ḥāji Mollā Yudā (Yehudā, fl. 1840-1930), who was one of the leading rabbis of his time in Hamadān and lead the congregation from about 1870 until well into the 20th century (Sarshar, 2002, p. 184). In the 1950s, Kenisa-ye Mollā Rebi had about eight Torahs and could accommodate approximately 250 people. Around the time of World War II the congregation was headed by Mollā Dāwud Sasun and Mollā Menehem (Rabbi Menahem ha-Levi, d. 1940), both of whom were considered by the community as religious leaders. The fourth synagogue was Kenisa-ye Mollā Abram located in Pir-e Gorg. It had four or five Torahs and a capacity of 150 people. The congregation was led by Mollā Abram himself and his son Mollā Šimun (Šamʿun). The last and smallest synagogue in Hamadān was the Alliance Israélite Universelle (also known as Etteḥād) school synagogue that could hold 100 people.

Plate I. Mausoleum of Esther and Mordechai.

Plate II. Torah from Mausoleum of Esther and Mordechai.

The Jews of Hamadān had two bathhouses(ḥammām), one for men and one for women, with granite floors and elaborate tile work. The adjacent structures were located at the end of Kuča-ye Sayyedhā and were maintained by Ḥayim Ḥamumi. The woman’s bathhouse had a ritual bath(miqva). Hamadān had about five kosher butcher shops, all of which were clustered close to each other in the vicinity of the ḥammāms. The Jews of Hamadān had one cemetery located approximately two miles west of town on the road to Kermānšāh. Its oldest tombstones date back to the middle of the 19th century. The previous cemetery was overtaken and built upon by the Muslim clergy in the mid-19th century (interview conducted by author with Iraj Lālazāri, January 2003).

In many ways, Hamadān’s Jewish community was like other major Jewish communities in Persia. The most significant feature that distinguishes it from other communities, however, is the fact that the Jews of Hamadān did not have a maḥalla, or Jewish quarter (Sarshar, 2002, p. 104; Mošfeq Hamadāni, p. 20). So while overwhelming socio-economic restrictions placed on the Jews by the Shiʿite clergy since the rise of the Safavid dynasty in 1501 gradually drove Jewish communities in other ma-jor cities to converge together in particular streets and neighborhoods for shelter and protection from the ensuing consequences of any accidental infraction, the Jews of Hamadān always lived freely, dispersed among the Muslims. A survey of the map of Hamadān city helps confirm this fact. Reference to two streets in the older section of Hamadān specifically named Jewish Streets (kuča-ye yahudihā in the north-central part of town, and ḵiābān-e kalimihā in the north-east-central part of town), together with the location of the qāšoq-tarāšān area in the western part town (qāšoq-tarāšān is the area where most of the above mentioned synagogues, the bathhouse, and all the kosher butcher shops are located), and the location of the shrine of Esther and Mordechai in the southeastern part of the city clearly demonstrates that there were no specific locales of Jewish concentration in Hamadān as early as the time when these streets were named and the neighborhood of qāšoq-tarāšān was inhabited by Jews (c. mid- to late-19th cent.). The distance between Esther and Mordechai’s shrine and the two Jewish streets (nearly one quarter of the city’s length) further confirms this fact. We also know that kuča-ye yahudihā ends in the Gonbad-e ʿAlawiān and that the Qāšoq-tarāšān Mosque is located in the qāšoq-tarāšān area at the end of a street by the same name (see Gitā-šenāsi, Map of Hamadān City, 1987). The location of these two mosques further suggests a degree of assimilation between the Jews and the Muslim community in Hamadān, which as a matter of course did not exist in locales known specifically as maḥallas or Jewish quarters elsewhere in the country (I am grateful to Haideh Sahim for clarifying these topographic issues for me). In spite of these facts, some Western scholars and travelers who visited Hama-dān at the end of the 19th century nevertheless refer to a Jewish quarter in that city, making it necessary to address the discrepancy between the city’s topography and their respective reports. In doing so, the first issue to keep in mind is that the notion of a maḥalla bears various sociological nuances and implications that do not carry over into the English coinage of “Jewish quarter.” So while a Westerner may see a cluster of neighboring Jewish homes and identify the area as a Jewish quarter, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the area constituted a maḥalla in the Judeo-Persian sense of the word (for more on this, see Sarshar, ed., 2002, pp. 103-4). One of the major characteristics of maḥallas in Persia was that, even though Jews were never forced by law exclusively to live in a maḥalla, it was extremely difficult for anyone to move out of one. Financial limitations and socio-cultural pressures were the most prominent hindrances to leaving the maḥalla. Furthermore, while some Jews occasionally left the maḥalla, Muslims would never move into one. With this in mind, it is possible to understand the account of Western scholars and travelers as one influenced by their orientalist perspective on Hama-dān’s Jewish community. They came to Persia looking for analogous circumstances between Persian and European Jewry and subsequently identified a cluster of neighboring Jewish homes in Hamadān as the Jewish quarter. Their tendency in this respect was arguably heightened by their preceding visits to towns like Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tehran, all of which did in fact have maḥallas. Equally important factors in this examination are first-hand accounts by Hamadāni Jews themselves. In his autobiography, Rabiʿ Mošfeq Hamadāni (b. 1912) writes: “In Hamadān, unlike other Iranian cities, the Jews did not have a maḥalla where they had to live. Rather, they lived dispersed throughout the city and often they even lived in some of the best houses in town. Our own home was in the heart of the most religious part of town, as the ʿAlawiān Mosque, which was one of Hamadān’s most famous mosques, was less than 100 steps from our house” (Mošfeq, p. 20). Every one of the nine oral interviews I have conducted with Hamadāni Jews of the same generation unanimously corroborates the absence of a maḥalla in Hamadān. Moreover, all reported that none of their parents ever knew of a maḥalla in Hamadān. Taking the generational lag into account, these reports thus unmistakably confirm the absence of a maḥalla in Hamadān from as early as the last quarter of the 19th century. Reports stating that the economic condition of Hamadāni Jews in the last half of that century was “generally good” further support this fact (see above), because they suggest that certain members of the community could afford to move to the more desirable sections of town. Their economic condition thus potentially resolved the need to live in a locale of requisite Jewish concentration; a resolution that did not come about for the remainder of the Jewish community elsewhere in the country until well after the rise of the Pahlavi monarchy. In addition, Hamadān’s proximity to the border, its Jewish community’s regular contact with Baghdad, and the ensuing degrees of outside influence could also have been considerable factors in that community’s comparatively greater assimilation into Hamadān’s dominant Muslim milieu.

While the true reason behind the absence of a maḥalla in Hamadān cannot be determined with certainty, some of its ethnographic impacts on the Jewish community can nevertheless be theorized. Though none of the maḥallas in Persia were ever walled-in like the European ghettos, their topographic perimeters nevertheless provided the Jews with a sense of enclosure and insurmountable separateness from the Muslim, a sense that effectively precluded the possibility of their assimilation into the larger Muslim community. By extension, it is possible to imagine how the absence of a maḥalla would translate on a psychosocial level into a more general absence of boundary between self and other, and thus result in a relatively more fluid sense of a collective identity that does not definitively distinguish Jewish from gentile. From this perspective, the absence of a maḥalla in Hamadān may well have been a non-negligible factor in the disproportionate ratio of conversions to Christianity and Babi/Bahaism that nearly devastated Hamadān’s Jewish community in the last half of the 19th century. From another perspective, the absence of a maḥalla may also have been a factor in the comparatively early decline of individuals who can call the Judeo-Persian dialect of Hamadān their mother tongue (Sahim, 2002, pp. 283-95; idem, 1994, pp. 171-81). While today virtually every member of the oldest generation of Isfahani or Shirazi Jews, for instance, can still speak the Judeo-Persian dialect of their respective town, the dialect of Hamadān is spoken only by a fraction of the members of that same generation and is thus that much closer to being lost.

Hamadān, as the home of the shrine of Esther and Mordechai (q.v.), is a place of great veneration for Jews throughout Persia. The shrine was a pilgrimage site visited by Jews generally every week but especially at Purim. Israel Benjamin writes that “at the commencement of each month, and at the Purim festival, pilgrimages are made to these tombs, and the book of Esther is read there. When, during the reading, certain passages occur in which these two personages in particular are mentioned, all those present knock loudly on the catafalques, as if to say ‘here they rest, the preserves of our fathers; here they rest, and we read today their glorious history.’ When any calamity threatens the town, or when the Jewish community fears any approaching danger, lambs are sacrificed before the door of this house, and their flesh divided among the poor” (Benjamin, pp. 204-5). The shrine was also a ritual place of prayer for supplicant pilgrims who came making wishes, asking for solutions to life’s problems, or in extreme cases hoping for cures from diseases or deformities. On occasion, the shrine was even visited by Muslim pilgrims who would go there to tie daḵils (q.v.; The Jewish Encyclopedia VII, p. 1220). Among the edifice’s many architectural characteristics, perhaps the most significant are its stone door and iron padlock, the latter being one of the oldest known examples of padlocks in Persia (Tanāvoli, pp. 53-54). In 1971, the shrine underwent an extensive expansion and renovation under the supervision of the architect Yāssi Gabbāy. As a result, the small prayer room was reconfigured into a larger synagogue and the main entrance to the monument was expanded, allowing access from the main street (Gabbay, 1994, p. 57; idem, 2002, p. 26).

While today the shrine of Esther and Mordechai, as well as the synagogues, bathhouses, and cemetery are all still intact in Hamadān, the gradual emigration of the city’s Jewish community has severely impacted their function. With the onset of World War II, most of the Jews started to leave Hamadān for the capital Tehran, while a considerably smaller percentage headed for the Holy Land. According to Iraj Lalehzari, in the mid- to late-1950s at least twelve of the Torahs in Hamadān were taken to Tehran. By the time of the revolution of 1978-79, there were less than 400 Jews left in Hamadān; and while none of the synagogues were operating at their capacity, the oldest, Kenisa-ye Mollā Rebi, had permanently closed its doors (Lalehzari). Soon after the revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regional government had planned to overtake the cemetery, exhume the graves and build an edifice on the grounds. At the last moment the project was deterred by Manṣur Nurāni, the then director of Hamadān’s Jewish Association(Anjoman-e Kalimiān), who soon thereafter succeeded in bringing the territory under the stewardship of Hamadān’s parks commission to preserve it as a historical site (Moʿtamed).

According to the latest reports, there are today only ten Jewish families left in Hamadān. Hamadān’s Jewish Association is still active under the directorship of Mr. Rasad. Its chief activity is to maintain the cemetery, organize a Hebrew class, and tend to the synagogue at the shrine of Esther and Mordechai, which is the last remaining synagogue in Hamadān to hold services on Shabbat and on Jewish high holidays (Yeshaya). Of the other synagogues that were previously active in Hamadān, one was converted into a mosque by the local authorities.


During the three decades preceding the 1978-79 Revolution in Persia, a number of Jewish natives of Hamadān rose to prominent positions in Persian society, culture, and academia, some even attaining world acclaim for their achievements in their respective fields. It is a testimony to the impact of the Alliance Israélite Universelle schools on Persian Jewry that all five of the following individuals graduated from the Alliance school in Hamadān. The first was Rabiʿ Mošfeq Hamadāni (b. 1912), the renowned journalist, writer, and translator. Mošfeq began his career in journalism by writing for Iran, Mehr, and Mehregān magazines. In 1942, Mošfeq joined Moṣṭafā Meṣbāḥzāda and ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Farāmarzi in founding Keyhān, one of the leading daily newspapers in Persia, and became its first editor-in-chief. In 1949, Mošfeq began publishing Kāviān, a politically oriented magazine with a distinctly secular and nationalistic voice, and became one of Moḥammad Moṣaddeq’s ardent supporters (Mošfeq Hamadāni, pp. 226-32, 259-61, 264).

Parvin Moʿtamed (b. 1928), a leading figure in the Jewish educational system of Persia, was the first Jewish woman to attend Hamadān’s teachers college (dāneš-sarā) and eventually became the director of the ORT schools in Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan. In 1970 Moʿtamed became the general director of all ORT schools throughout Iran. With this appointment, she became the first and, to date, only woman general director worldwide in the ORT educational system (interview conducted by author with Parvin Moʿtamed in January 2003).

Šelemu (Shlomo) Rahbar (b. 1929) is a world renowned immunologist and hemoglobin molecular researcher, whose work has had global impacts in the field of diabetes medicine. In 1962, Rahbar founded the Abnormal Hemoglobin Research Unit (AHRU) in Tehran, and in 1963 he became the first Jewish professor at Tehran University’s School of medicine. In the fifteen years of the AHRU’s operation, Rahbar discovered eleven new variants of hemoglobin. Chief among his discoveries is the hemoglobin A1C, which is particular to diabetic patients and is now used worldwide as the single most reliable index of diabetic control. He received the Lifetime Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award by the American Diabetic Association in 1996 (interview conducted by author with Shlomo Rahbar in January 2003).

Mention must also be made of the two brothers Iraj and Parviz Lalehzari (Lālazāri). Iraj (b. 1930) is a renowned pharmacologist and organic chemist, whose research has lead to the publication of more than 150 journal articles and five textbooks. In 1974 he became the dean of the School of Pharmacology at the University of Tehran, and three years later he organized the first ever international congress of researchers in Persia. Chief among his research achievements was the discovery in 1968 of a wild poppy flower indigenous to Persia (interview conducted by author with Iraj Lalehzari in January 2003). Iraj’s younger brother, Parviz (b. 1931), is a renowned immuno-hemotologist who has discovered several families of blood neutrophile antigens and is currently recognized as one of the leading researchers in diseases related to blood neutrophiles. Parviz Lalehzari is credited with the discovery Autoimmune Neutropenia of Infancy, and Autoimmune Neutropenia of Adults. (interview conducted by author with Parviz Lalehzari in January 2003).


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Ephraim Neumark, Mas’a be-erets ha-kedem: Suryah, Kurdistan Aram Naharayim Paras ve-Asyah ha-merkazit, Jerusalem, 1946.

I. P. Petrushevsky, “The Socio-Economic Condition of Iran Under the Il-Khans,” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 483-537.

Jaleh Pirnazar, “Jang-e bayn-al-melal-e dovvom wa jāmeʿa-ye yahud dar Irān,” in Homa Sarshar and Debbie Adhami, eds., Terua: Yahudiān-e Irān dar tāriḵ-e moʿāṣer/The History of Contemporary Iranian Jews, Los Angeles, 1996. pp. 93-106.

Jacob Eduard Polak, Persien. Das Land und seine Bewohner, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1865.

Jan Rypka, “Poets and Prose Writers of the Late Saljuq and Mongol Periods,” in Camb. Hist. Iran V, pp. 550-625.

Haideh Sahim, “The Dialect of the Jews of Hamadān” in Shaul Shaked and Amnon netzer, eds., Irano-Judaica III: Studies Relating to the Jewish Contacts with Persian Culture Throughout the Ages, 1994, pp. 171-81.

Idem, “Clothing and Makeup,” in Houman Sarshar, ed., Esther’s Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews, Los Angeles, 2002, pp. 175-96.

Idem, “Jews of Iran in the Qajar Period: Persecution and Perseverance,” in Robert Gleave, ed., Religion and Society in Qajar Iran, London, 2003.

Parviz Tanavoli and John T. Wertime, Locks from Iran: Pre-Islamic to Twentieth Century, Washington, D.C., 1976.

Parviz Yeshaya, Interview conducted by the author, January 2003.

Mirzā ʿAli Khan Ẓahir-al-Dawla, Ḵaṭerāt wa asnād-e Ẓahir-al-dawla, ed. Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1988.


Introduction. The dialect spoken by the Jews of Hamadān (henceforth HJ) and a close variant spoken by the Jews of Tuyserkān (TJ; see Affiliations and Variantsbelow) belong to the Central Plateau Dialect (CPD) group of Northwestern Iranian languages (NWI), as opposed to Southwestern Iranian (SWI; e.g., Persian). The sources used for this description are abbreviated as follows: Abrahamian (AB), and Yarshater (YS).

Population and community. According to Ehsan Yarshater’s informants, the Jewish community had dwindled from around 13,000 souls in 1920 to less than 1,000 by 1969, and of these about half originated from the Jewish communities of Malāyer, Tuyserkān, and various points in Kurdistan. The Jewish population lived mostly in the Darb-e Kalim-ḵāna quarter of Hamadān. Haideh Sahim reports that in the mid-1970s the community numbered only about 350 (Sahim, p. 173, quoting an informant). According to members of the community that Donald Stilo encountered in 2001-2, there were only eight people from the Jewish community left in Hamadān at the time, but others can still be found in Israel, New York City, and most predominantly in Los Angeles. He was also informed that only people born before the mid-1940s were raised speaking the dialect. Even Yarshater’s informants claimed, in 1969, that use of the language in the home was dwindling. Hence it is not known how many speakers are left and whether there are any full native speakers among the generation under the age of fifty. It is likely that the Jewish community of Tuyserkān is now extinct, as Yarshater informants reported that in 1969 there were only two Jewish families left and they were at the time planning to leave.

Diachronics. The following list details the major NWI phonological developments from proto-Iranian (listed with *) present in the Jewish dialect of Hamadān, but examples typical of SWI that are also found in this dialect due to heavy borrowing from Persian are listed alongside in parentheses: *ts > s as in masar, kasar (= mas, kas + tar) “large, small” (but dah “ten”); *dz > z, as in zun/zunā “know,” heze “yesterday” (but dumād “son-in-law” del “heart”); *tsv > sp~sb as in esbid “white”; *dzv> zb~zv in zowun “tongue”; *dv- > b-, as in bar “door.” Later changes consist of: *fr- > h- in he- “preverb (< *frā)” in he-geft “take,” he-dā “give,” he-ništ “sit” (but note the SWI-like fr-, in HJ fraš/frat- “sell”); *Θr > r in pir “son” (but se “three”);*w- > v- (instead of b-) in vāyom “almond,” vece “child,” vārun “rain,” vāy “wind, breeze,” ver- “preverb” (usually indicating “up”), (but bāz(-am) “again,” barre “lamb”); *w- > v- (instead of g-) in veider~ veidešd “pass” (but gorg “wolf”); *j- remains as j- in jir “down,” jande “alive,” jn~jen- “hit,” jan “woman”; *-xt > NWI -(h)t~ -(t)t, as in sot- “burned,” pet- “cooked,” ret- “poured,” vat- “said,” dot “daughter”; the development of *-ft > -(h)t~-(t)t (usually parallel to *-xt)does not seem to occur in HJ, represented only by -ft : geft- “take,” kaft- “fall,” dor-oft- “sleep,” cf. the respective Farizandi (NE subgroup of CPD) forms gat, dar-kaft, hot; *-č- > -j- as in suj- “burn,” rij- “pour” with further weakening to -y/ø- in vā(y)- “say-pres” and note the alternates pej-~pec- “cook-pres” (but ez~az “from”). The only major developments in the HJ vowel system are (1) -i- in place of -u- in pir “boy,” ri “face,” did “smoke,” found even in Arabic loanwords, e.g., aris “bride” and (2) the -ā- vowel in mān “I,” as opposed to man-men in other Iranian languages, but this development is also common in other CPD.

Phonology. The consonantal system of HJ has the following inventory: p, b, t, d, c, j, k, g, q~γ, f, v, s, z, š, x, h, m, n, r, l, y, although Yarshater’s notes also show a pharyngeal H, especially in Hebrew and Arabic words, e.g., esHāq “Isaac” and sobāH “tomorrow,” but also in words of Iranian origin: Hamerān “I break.” No other sources show this consonant and even in Yarshater’s notes it occurs in very few words. The vowel system (i, e, a, u, o, ā, ey, ow) is also similar to other Iranian languages; ə is probably a variant of e. Stressis phonemic in HJ, e.g., such contrasts as: únā “him (direct object),” unāˊ “they.”


Number. HJ nouns have one type of plural ending for both animates and inanimates: -āˊ, e.g., šāx-ā “horns,” yehudi-ā “Jews.” There are two indefinite markers: the number ye(y) “one” (yey šarbat “a syrup”) and an unstressed (miāˊn-e bāˊγi “in a garden”), but both forms most commonly occur together (yey xiāˊl-e xabi “a good idea”).

Object marking. Definite direct objects take -(r)ā : after consonants (vecé-š-ā né-š-di “she didn’t see her child”) -rā after vowels (hamāˊ-rā bé-dān-ferāte “you have sold us”). -Rā drops when the marker for subject (Set2; see Table 1) is moved from the verb to the direct object in the past tenses (see Fronting): ow-š bəxo “he drank (the) water,” but -rā remains when this Set2 appears elsewhere: píl-ā bé-š-be “he took the money,” sér-ešān-ā hanā-šān bégeft “they hennaed their hair (lit: head).” Set2 on the verb can also express pronominal direct objects: jnút-em “he hits me,” bé-yrut-ed “that he catch you,” kāru bó-košid-eš “you must kill him,” da’vat-ešān kart-em “they invited me.”

Modifiers and the eżāfa. Modifiers follow their noun via an eżāfa connector: un taraf-e divār “that side of the wall,” kārā-ye kie “chores of the house”; adjectives: heyvún-e āqel “a smart animal,” ye xā-y emin-em “another sister of mine.” The eżāfa sometimes also drops: berā masár-em “my older brother.” Both full pronouns or Set2 may indicate possessives: gardán-e man “my neck”; buā-d “your father,” ésm-eš “his/her name”).

Demonstratives. HJ demonstratives are: in “this,” un “that,” as well as the intensives hamin/hamun “this/that very (same) one.”

Pronouns. Personal pronouns are listed in Table 1. HJ has the reflexives xo- and xoc-, which take the possessive suffixes. Both are used reflexively (be xoc-aš beš-vāt “he said to himself,” xo-š-ā beš-xost miān-e ow “threw himself in the water”), emphatically (mān xóc-am beštān “I went myself,” xo-d zuni “you yourself know”), or possessively (bāl-e xoc-aš, “his own wing,” kār-e xo-š “his own work”).

Prepositions. HJ has only prepositions: “with,” ez “from,” miān-e “in, inside,” dím-e “on,” déyr-e “around,” etc. as in vā ján-eš “with his wife,” miāˊn-e sahrā “in the field,” dím-e zamin “on the ground.” Pronoun objects may be either full forms or Set2 suffixes, e.g., berā-š “for him/her,” beš-eš “to him” (doubled Set2), lā-š “next to it.”


Verb roots. The past root in HJ is generally formed from the present root by adding: a) (zun/-ā “know,” keš/-ā “pull”), or b) -d after -n (ken/-d “dig,” xon/-d “read”), and -t after other consonants (bāf/-t “to weave,” xšār/-t “press,” sometimes with a vowel change: ker/kart “do,” etc. A third group shows either wider changes of the consonant before -t (hal/hašt “let,” veider/veidešt “pass”), root reduction (suj/sut “burn,” ferāš/ferāt “sell”), expansion (k/kaft “fall,” he-ni/ništ “sit”), or various other changes (gir/geft “take”). A fourth smaller group with no past formant drops the -n of the present root (birin/biri “cut,” j(e)n/ji “hit”). Some present and past verb roots that end in -r or -rt lose these consonants when final, e.g., vā-ker/kart, ber/bart, hamer/hamart: present root: vāˊ-ke “open (sg)!,” bebe “carry (sg)!”; past root: béšān-be “they carried,” bé-š-Hame “he broke.” These consonants are retained, however, if a suffix follows them: vek(e)r-id “open (pl)!,” bart-eš “he used to carry,” Hamɶrt-em “I used to break.”

Preverbsfurther specify a root, e.g., gir/geft “catch,” he-gir/geft “take, get,” ve-gir/geft “pick up”; gard/gardā “go around,” bar-gard/gardā “return.” Many roots only occur with preverbs: he-ni/ništ “sit,” vor-os/osā “get up, rise,” vā-pars/parsā “ask,” etc. Preverbs in HJ accompany all tenses as well as all negatives: henádān “I won’t give.”

Negation is expressed by a stressed, prefixed né- ~ ná- that comes just before the verb root: néšzunā “he/she couldn’t,” nédārān “I don’t have” vānábo “it didn’t become.”

Non-finite forms include infinitives, present, and past participles. Infinitives are formed by adding -an after the (preverb-)Past Root, with a transitional -y- after a final vowel: šiyan “to go,” xordan “to eat,” vāpušāyan “to dress.” Past participles are formed by adding -e after the (preverb-)Past Root: veidešte “past,” (ne)gefte “(un)taken.”

Person endings. While there is only one type of conjugation for present forms (present, subjunctive, imperative), Table 2 shows a basic distinction between intransitive and transitive conjugations in all past forms (preterit, imperfect, perfect tenses; for the full conjugation of an intransitive and a transitive verb in the simple past tense, see Table 3). Intransitives use Set1 endings (as in the present) after the past verb stem (bé-resā-n, dar-kaft-ān “I arrived, I fell”), whereas transitives add Set2 before the stem when be-, a preverb, or a negative particle is present (bé-š-Hame, vāˊ-š-parsā, né-š-zunā “he broke, asked, couldn’t”), and after the verb stem when none of these is present, i.e., in the imperfect (Hamart-eš “he used to break”). Fronting is also a crucial process in past transitives.

Fronting. As shown in the previous paragraph, there are two sets of person endings in HJ verbs (as with most NWI languages). Since Set2 endings are somewhat unusual in comparison to English, other European languages, and Persian, we will reiterate that Set2 endings show agreement with subject onlyin the case of transitive verbs and only in the tenses of the past system, as well all tenses of the verb “to want” (an irregular verb). While the position for the Set1 endings is completely fixed and unchangeable in HJ verbs (just as with all Persian verbs, for example), Set2 endings by contrast are quite mobile. As already seen, Set2 person endings are located in different positions just in the simple past and the imperfect forms even in isolation (see bé-š-Hame, “he broke” and Hamart-eš “he used to break” in the previous paragraph). It can be said in addition, however, that there is a general tendency for Set2 to move forward, i.e., to the left, even inside the verb whenever possible (see geft-em “I would catch” vs. hé-m-e-geft “I would get,” vā-parsān “I ask” vs. vām-e-parsā “I would ask” and beri-em “I would cut” vs. n-em-e-beri “I would not cut”; see below TensesGeneral. comments).

An even further extension of this tendency of Set2 to move forward is found in the process called fronting here. This process only occurs in sentences that have other words besides the subject preceding the verb. In these cases we have the optional, but very common, process of fronting. This process moves the Set2 person endings in the past system of transitives offthe verb to a preceding word (but not to the subject), e.g., (past) har-ci-d buā “whatever you said” < b-ed-vā “you said,” mire-mān henédā “we didn’t marry her off” < he-ne-mān-dā “we didn’t give”; (imperfect) mān har ru tefilā-m exond “I would say my prayers every day” < xond-em “I would read.” Table 3 contrasts the immobility of Set1 endings in the simple past tense of intransitive verbs with the mobility of Set2 in transitive verbs in the past system by showing the optional application of the fronting process in the transitive verbs.

As shown above under “Object Marking,” fronting a Set2 verbal marker to a word that has a Set2 possessive marker is not allowed, but Set2 may remain on the verb: vā dondók-eš béš-ārt “he brought (it) with his beak.” For the effects of fronting with the verb “to want,” see the sentences híci-m nagu and har-ci-d bégu under Modals below.


General comments. The present and imperfect are formed with the prefix e- (also called the durative marker), but the latter is deleted both when it would normally occur alone in initial position, e.g., (pres) šān “I go,” zunān “I know,” (imperf.) šiāyān “I would go,” ferāˊtem “I would sell,” as well as after an ā- of a preverb:vā-parsān “I ask.” The prefix e- is retained after a consonant of a preverb (der-e-kaftān “I would fall”) or after the first element of a compound verb (xerend “they eat,” vs. šum é-xerend “they eat dinner”). It is also retained in the transitive imperfect after Set2 that moves to a preverb (geft-em “I would catch” vs. hé-m-egeft “I would get”; vā-parsān “I ask,” but vā-m-e-parsā “I would ask”), to a compound verb (gerie-šān e-ke “they were crying”), or in all negatives even if the e- normally drops in the affirmative (beri-em “I would cut,” but n-em-e-beri “I would not cut”). After a preverb ending in -e, the prefix e- is realized as -y-: pres. heygirān (< he-e-gir-ān) “I get” vs. Subj. hégirān “that I get.” The prefix e- and an initial o- of a verb root convert to ow- (eo > ew > ow), cf., Pres. dor-owsāˊn “I sleep,” and Imperf. dor-owsāˊyān “I would sleep,” vs. forms without the marker e-: Subj. dór-osān “that I sleep,” command dór-os! “sleep!,” preterit dor-oftān “I slept,” and the infinitive doroftan.

HJ has progressive forms but they appear only very occasionally in actual texts and seem to be modeled on the colloquial Persian equivalent: dārān qand hamerān “I am breaking the sugar (cone),” mān dārtem lebās-em vāpušt “I was getting dressed.”

The verbal Marker b(e)- is used in the formation of the HJ subjunctive (b-ārend “that they bring”), imperative (b-éider “pass by!), preterit (be-šān-be “they took it away”), the present perfect tense (to xorāˊket-ā be-t-xórte “you have eaten your food”), and the past perfect tense (be-šān-resenāˊye-bo “they had delivered”), but it is suppressed in verbs roots with preverbs (see Table 2), in the negative forms, and often in compound verbs: dar jnu “that he hang (him)” (< dar + bé-jn-u).

To be. Aside from the short forms of “to be” (nāxoš-ān, -i, -u, etc.“I am, you are, he is ill”), HJ has both a “to be” of existence in two forms (širini hu ~ hesu “there are sweets”) and a “to be” of location and existence-within: ke yā déru “who is here?”; yey xérsi miāˊn-e jangal déru “there is a bear in the woods”).

Modals. Modals in HJ are gu/gā “want,” zun/zunā “can” (= “know”), kāˊru ~ kār-gu “must,” vā-b/bo “be possible” (= “become”), e.g., zuni hālā béši “you can go now”; kāˊru ce kərim? "What must we do?” (Abrahamian), kār-gu bešān vājār “I must go to the bāzār” (Yarshater); vānábu mān bešān “it’s not possible for me to go.” The modal want is formed with gu/gā preceded or followed by Set2 endings, depending on the form: (pres) gum, gu-d, gu-š, gu-mān, gu-dān, gu-šān; (past) gā-m, gā-d,etc., but subjunctive: bé-m-begu, bé-d-begu, etc., past negative: né-m-e-gā, etc. Examples are: (pres) pādešāh guš xabi békru “the king wants to do good”; (past) gā-šān pādešāˊ-rā masmum kerend “they wanted to poison the king.” Fronting of Set2 also optionally occurs in all tenses of “want”: Pres: híci-m nágu “I don’t want anything,” har-ci-d bégu “whatever you want.”

To become. This verb, in HJ as in Gilaki (see GILĀN ix), Vafsi and others, has a special particle between noun or adjective and the verb: sāket-ā-bi “be quiet!,” ez masartarin reisā hasāb ā-bu “he is considered one of the biggest bosses.” This particle seems to have formally converted to a preverb, even when the verb occurs independently: (see vānábu, belowunder Modals).

Causatives, passives. The causative marker (present/past forms) is -en/-enā, or -ān/-ānā:béxandene “make (someone) laugh!” (< béxand “laugh!”). The -e of -(e)n is lost after a vowel: bédowne “make (him) run!” There are two productive ways to form the passive: either (1) with the addition of -i- to the present root (plus the past formant for the past), cf., active: darzúe/ bešdašt “he/she sews/ sewed” > passive: dɶrz-i-u/bédarz-i-ā “it is sewn/was sewn,” or (2) (on the model of Persian) with the use of the past participle + vā-bi/bu “to become”: šekāfte-vā-nabu “it will not split open.” Sometimes a different past root formation is used to form the active (-t) and the passive form () of the verb: (active) sot, pet vs. (passive) pejā, sujā “cooked, burned,” respectively, but in most cases the passive formant -i- is inserted even if the roots are different: (act) hɶme(rt), ret;(pass) hmeriā, rijiā “broke, spilled,” respectively.

Affiliations and variants The Jewish community of Hamadān claims to have mostly migrated there from Yazd in the 18th century, but their dialect also shows connections to the Jewish (and non-Jewish) dialects of various CPD areas (see CENTRAL DIALECTS). It would be difficult to pinpoint the exact origins of the dialect without much more research. It is probably not original to the Hamadān area and will most likely prove to stem from different CPD areas but it also has characteristics that are unique unto itself. Members of the Jewish community of Tuyserkān also spoke of their derivation as from Yazd, but they also claim a portion of them came from Isfahan, which is most likely true for Hamadān as well.

Table 4 compares a few typical features of HJ with representatives from each of the four types of CPD as laid out by Pierre Lecoq, to show the relationship of HJ to other CPD. Only some dialects in each of Lecoq’s categories can be mentioned here (and even fewer included in Table 4): northwestern CPD (Maḥallāti, Vānišāni, Ḵᵛānsāri), northeastern CPD (Kāšān Jewish, Qohrudi, Jowšaqāni, Abyānaʾi (q.v.), Farizandi, Yārāni, Meymaʾi, Abuzaydābādi (q.v.), Naṭanzi, Kešaʾi, etc.), southwestern CPD (Gazi, Eṣfahāni Jewish, Seh-Dehi), and southeastern CPD (Yazdi Zoroastrian, Kermān Jewish, Nāʾini, Zefraʾi). Features 1 through 7 in the Table, with a few sporadic exceptions, show that HJ has features that are typical of most members of all four categories of CPD. Features 8 and 9 connect with three of the groups but not with the NW group, features 10 through 12 do unite HJ with the NW group. It should be noted that while some other dialects use the same roots for either “large” or “small” (or both)—c.f., Yazdi mas, kasog, Gazi, Zefraʾi and Kešaʾi kas—only HJ and the NW group of CPD have substituted the comparative form (“larger, smaller”) for the simple forms “big, small.” Of features 13, 14, 13 unites HJ with SW (and Zefraʾi) and 14 unites HJ with Eṣfahāni Jewish (SW) and Vānišāni (NW). Features 15 through 17 are unique to HJ.

As the Jewish community of Tuyserkān was most likely derivative from Hamadān, TJ also agrees with HJ in all major grammatical points and lexical items, e.g., TJ xoc- “self,” , yānā “here,” he-gir/geft “take, get,” maser, kaser “big, small,” ferāš/feroxt “sell,” and HJ emin, TJ emi “other.” Set1 and Set2 are virtually identical in both dialects and the rules for the appearance of the durative marker e- seem to be the same as in HJ: ferāšend “they sell,” kār e-kerend “they work,” mosāferat-ešān e-ke “they used to travel.” Differences only appear in a few words, e.g., TJ pešme “sneeze,” bāyad “must” (from Table 4), and HJ , TJ xuār “sister,” HJ , vānā TJ uvā “there,” etc.


Roubène Abrahamian, Dialectologie Iranienne: dialectes des Israélites de Hamadan et d’Isphahan et dialecte de Baba Tahir, Paris, 1936.

Harold W. Bailey, “Yazdi,” BSO(A)S 8, London, 1936, pp. 335-61.

Arthur Christensen, Contributions à la Dialectologie Iranienne: Dialecte Guiläkī de Recht, Dialectes de Färizänd, de Yaran et de Natanz, avec une supplément contenant quelques textesdans le persan vulgaire de Téhéran, Det Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes w. Selskab., Historisk-filologiske Meddelelser 17/2, Copenhagen, 1930.

Wilhelm Eilers, Westiranische Mundarten aus der Sammlung Wilhelm Eilers I: Die Mundart von Chunsar, Wiesbaden, 1976;II: Die Mund-art von Gäz, Wiesbaden, 79.

Farānak Firuzbaḵš: Barresi-e sāḵtemān-e dasturi-e guyeš-e behdinān-e šahr-e Yazd, Tehran, n.d. Irān Kalbāsi, Guyeš-e kalimiān-e Eṣfahān (yak guyeš-e irāni), Tehran, 1994.

Ann K. S. Lambton, Three Persian Dialects, London, 1938.

Pierre Lecoq, “Les dialectes du centre de l’Iran,” in Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. 263-93.

Manfred Mayrhofer, “Vorgeschichte der iranischen Sprachen: Uriranisch,” in Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. 4-24.

Haideh Sahim, “The Dialect of the Jews of Hamedan,” in Shaul Shaked and Amnon Netzer, eds., Irano-Judaica III, Jerusalem, 1994, pp. 171-81.

Rüdiger Schmidt, “Die altiranischen Sprachen im Überblick,” in Rüdiger Schmitt, ed., Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. 25-31.

Ehsan Yarshater, handwritten field notes collected in the Jewish communities of Hamadān and Tuyserkān, 1969, kindly provided to the writer.

V. A. Zhukovskiĭ, Materialy dlya izuceniya persidskikh nareciĭ, 2vols., Saint Petersburg, 1888-1922.

Cite this page
Parviz Aḏkāʾi, EIr, Habibollah Zanjani, Xavier de Planhol, Abdolhamid Eshragh, Ali Mousavi, Houman Sarshar and Donald Stilo, “HAMADĀN”, in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, © Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. Consulted online on 26 February 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2330-4804_EIRO_COM_2710>
First published online: 2020
First print edition: 20031215

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