Situated on the slopes of Mount Alvand and in Hamadan city, Hegmataneh Hill (Old Persian: literally means “the place of gathering”) or Ecbatana in Greek was a flourishing city in the ancient Median Empire in western Iran. Ecbatana was chosen as the Median capital in the late 8th century BC and considered as a summer residence for Parthian and Achaemenid kings due to its well-positioned place.
The 30-hectare city had been constructed in rich decoration: doors and pillars were covered by gold, hard to find an item without decoration, even tiles inside the palaces were covered with silver and all wooden items were made of cypress.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus described the city as being surrounded by seven concentric walls of different colors. Another Greek historian, Pelibious wrote: “Hegmataneh city with strong palace was located in Alvand Mountain and king’s palace was inside seven ramparts”.
The archaeological excavations in the ancient Hegmataneh hill have revealed stone-age tools and pottery, showing its outstanding architectural plan and valuable items.
Relics discovered include golden tablets in cuneiform and a cup related to King Xerxes, the offspring of Darius; a number of Sassanid coins; a sword and a goblet, and an embossed lion with wings in a leaping position dating back to the Achaemenid era, indicating that this area was most probably the treasury of the ancient monarchs.
Taking a walk through a number of excavated old walls and objects of this old city can make visitors ponder on the splendor of ancient Persia, wondering how rich its history was.