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Hamadan (hämädänˈ) [key], city (1991 pop. 349,653), capital of Hamadan prov., W Iran, at the foot of Mt. Alwand. Located at an altitude of 6,000 ft (1,829 m), it is the trade center for a fertile farm region where fruit and grain are grown. The city is noted for its rugs, leatherwork, textiles, chemicals, and wood and metal products. In ancient times, as Hangmatana or Agbatana, it was a capital of Media. It was known to the Greeks as Ecbatana. In the 7th cent. Hamadan passed to the Arabs, and it was later held by the Seljuk Turks (12th–13th cent.) and the Mongols (13th–14th cent.). The city has had a Jewish colony for many years; the reputed tombs of Mordecai and Esther (see Esther, book of the Bible) are there. Avicenna, the physician and philosopher, is buried in Hamadan.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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