The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamedan | The Second Holy Place of the Jews in the World

The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamedan | The Second Holy Place of the Jews in the World

In the center of Hamadan, the tourism capital of Asia in 2018, and in one of the very main neighborhoods of it there is a tomb, some parts of which date back to the Ilkhani dynasty, but it is in fact a remnant of an ancient mythology that occurred about a thousand years before the Ilkhanites. Esther and Mordecai, according to some have had much influence and power in the court of the king Xerxes of the Achaemenid dynasty and saved the Jewish people, and in their calendar there is a holiday called Purim in on which they throw celebrations.

The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamedan
The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamedan

The Legend of Esther

Due to the lack of historical evidence, the historic reality of these events cannot be proven, but in the Jewish Bible it is said that king Xerxes, who was at the peak of the power of the Achaemenid dynasty and was ecstatic because of this power and glory, during a ceremony called on his Iranian queen to show her beauty in front of everyone, but her chastity and purity caused her to defy the king’s decree, which led to the king’s anger and to her being deposed from being queen and king’s seeking a replacement for her. In the meantime an orphan girl named Esther get chosen, who was released at the time of the rule of Cyrus the great and after the conquest of Babylon; she was now accepted by Xerxes.

The Queen of the court of Khashayarshah
The Queen of the court of Khashayarshah

Esther had a clever uncle named Mordecai who was able to gain a lofty position in the court of Xerxes. At that time, Haman was the Chancellor of the Persian king, and for some reason he was not happy with Mordecai, and knowing that Esther and Mordechai were Jewish and the influence she had on Xerxes, Haman was able to get permission and decree from the king to massacre Jews.

This governmental decree got the Jewish queen and his uncle who both enjoyed a high status in Iran’s court to take action, and eventually Esther was able to make the king retract this decree and so she saves her people.

In Esther’s book it says the this was not the end of the story, and they were able to get the death sentence for Haman and his family and 500 other enemies of the Jews from the king.

Although the majority of researchers in the world encyclopedia of the Jews, consider this story which is fully narrated in the book of Esther, to be a myth and a mere story, but the anniversary of the occurrence of this historical myth has not been forgotten by the Jewish people.

exterior view of the tomb
exterior view of the tomb

The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai

The tomb is near the Imam Khomeini Square of Hamedan and is exactly in the center of the city. Hamedan was one of the key cities during the Achaemenid dynasty, and the existence of this tomb in this place near the city of Hegmatane is not surprising. To get to the tomb, we head out to an old alley in the end of which we reach a wooden door, and behind it there is a large yard and a brick structure with a dome on which turquoise tile works still remain. This dome was built during the Ilkhani dynasty but the structure under the dome is a few thousand years old. The dome reminds us of the Islamic shrines, this feeling accompanies us until we get to the small stone entrance door, where the first Hebrew lines and stone tablets appear. One of the scripts bears the names of the custodians of this building, and on another genealogy of Esther and Mordechai is chiseled, reaching to Jacob the prophet after 15 generations. Another tablet belongs to a Jewish scientist who lived 1400 years ago and has been buried in this place.

All of these scripts are in Hebrew, but the plaster works inside the tomb are written in Aramaic. After a few steps we get below the dome, and two graves made entirely of wood, and about 200 years ago which were built by an artist from Tooyserkan (a city near Hamedan ) appear, each of which are beautifully wood carved. All around the building there are plaster works written in the Aramaic language and there is a paper on the wall that has the ten commandments of Moses (AS) written on it. Of course, these ten commandments in the form of plaster work and beautifully written in Hebrew are on the left side of the tombs.

Irantrawell’s Opinion on the Tomb of Esther and Mordecai

The works of the Jews are always fascinating and mysterious, and this building is not an exception, and this feeling is ignited in you in the first encounter with the stone wall of this tomb. It seems as though by passing through it you have entered into a mysterious treasure. This tomb is very valuable among the Jews and when they travel to Iran they put this place in their schedule. They make sure to visit the two Jewish rescuers who are the reason for one of the most important festivals of the Jews. The suggestion of Irantrawell is that you make sure to visit this building, but before you go, make sure that it is open, do not go there on Saturdays, and be sure to take your family as well, because that’s one of the entry requirements.

The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamedan
The Tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamedan

Make sure you see this page: Comprehensive travel guide to Hamedan

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I think losing your travel documents, money, and your phone in a foreign country is on the top place in the list of top things you must be scared of when you go abroad. You can google the list of the cities famous for their pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Now, if you’re coming to Iran, hearing the financial news in Iran might worry you a little; and in fact, the tourist centres and crowded areas are no exception in this case. But statistics show that Iran is almost a lot better and safer than other countries in this case. But, only in case you want to travel with peace of mind, keep these points in mind: • You don’t have carry your passport with you to everywhere you go; only a copy of that would suffice. No one usually asks for it. • You will need cash, but you shouldn’t carry all the cash you have with you. • I suggest you to put your eggs in different baskets, I mean split your money and put it in different places so in case you get robbed, you will have some money left. • It’t better to use bags and handbags instead of backpack in crowded places like bazaars; so you can always watch the zippers. • And always keep an eye on your phone!