“The underground city of Samen is a unique tourist attraction”

TEHRAN – Samen underground city in Malayer, Hamedan province, has a unique structure and is a top tourist attraction, the province’s deputy tourism chief has said.

Due to the existence of human skeletons and its granite stone structure, the underground city of Samen can be considered a unique attraction in the region, CHTN said Sunday citing Ali Khaksar.

It should also be noted that most of the troglodytes around the world were built in a bed of alluvial stones, sandstone and clay, and digging them was not very hard, while the underground city of Samen has was built in a bed of stone and is between three and five hectares, he explained.

Despite the lack of certainty about its age, the fact that the underground city was created on stone beds makes it likely that it dates from before the Parthian period (247 BC – 224 CE), he said. mentioned.

Originally a Parthian city, the city core has spread throughout history and served primarily as a cemetery, he said.

A total of 80 coins and 60 human skeletons have been discovered in the underground city so far, along with pottery, copper vessels and agate seals, the official added.

The human skeletons were badly eroding, so they were handed over to the cultural heritage expert, who will research, document and restore them before displaying them, he noted.

Last week, the official announced that the underground city of Samen will open its doors to the public in the near future.

The public and the media demanded that the underground city be made accessible to tourists, he added.

Since last year, the Ministry of Tourism has allocated funds for the restoration of this complex, as well as the completion of the basic building and lighting, he noted.

More than 25 billion rials ($84,000) have so far been spent on researching, exploring, restoring, organizing, illuminating and equipping the underground city of Samen, the official added. responsible.

Samen’s underground settlement has 25 rock-cut rooms, interconnecting tunnels and corridors.

The underground complex seems to have been used first for religious purposes, then as a cemetery and finally as an emergency shelter.

The underground complex, located 400 km west of Tehran, is said to have been built between the fall of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) and the beginning of the Parthian era (247 BC). AD-224 AD).

Excavations at the site began in 2005 and are still ongoing. So far, dozens of well-preserved skeletons have been recovered from its interconnected chambers.

Iran is a paradise for ancient cave architecture which is somewhat forgotten while it is full of life and creativity. The northwestern village of Kandovan is one of the country’s most famous examples of cave architecture; its ice cream cone-shaped houses resemble those of Turkish Cappadocia.

In October 2018, the country hosted the 3rd International Conference on Cave Architecture where dozens of experts, researchers and scholars discussed the architecture, culture and technology associated with cave dwellings. .

Known in classical times as Ecbatana, Hamedan was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. There are pitifully few remains from antiquity, but significant parts of the city center are given over to excavations. Ecbatana was the capital of Media and subsequently a summer residence of the Achaemenid kings who ruled Persia from 553 to 330 BC.

Hamadan has had many names: it may have been the Bit Daiukki of the Assyrians, Hangmatana or Agbatana among the Medes and Ecbatana among the Greeks. One of the Median capitals, under Cyrus II (the Great; died 529 BC) and later Achaemenid rulers, it was the site of a royal summer palace.

Around 1220, Hamedan was destroyed by the Mongols. In 1386, it was sacked by Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkish conqueror, and the inhabitants were massacred. It was partially restored in the 17th century and then changed hands often between the Iranian ruling houses and the Ottomans.

Situated on a high plain, Hamedan is gracefully cool in August but prone to snow and frost from December to March. In summer, the air is often foggy. Ali Sadr Cave, Ganjnameh Inscriptions, Avicenna Mausoleum, Hegmataneh Hill, Alaviyan Dome, Jameh Mosque and St. Stephanos Gregorian Church are some of the attractions in Hamedan, not to mention to name a few.


Keith P. Plain