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

TEHRAN. The Samen Underground City in Malayer, Hamedan Province has a unique structure and is a major tourist attraction, said the deputy head of the province’s tourism department.

Due to the existence of human skeletons and its granite stone structure, the underground city of Samen can be considered a unique landmark of the region, CHTN quoted Ali Haksar as saying on Sunday.

It should also be noted that most troglodytes around the world were built in a layer of alluvial stones, sandstone and clay and were not very difficult to dig, while the underground city of Samen was built in a stone layer and is between three and five years old . huh, he explained.

Although its age is uncertain, the fact that the underground city was built on stone beds suggests that it dates back to the Parthian period (247 BC – 224 AD) , he noted.

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

In total, 80 rooms and 60 human skeletons, as well as ceramics, copper vessels and agate seals have been discovered in the underground city, the official added.

The human skeletons were badly decaying, so they were handed over to a heritage expert who will examine, document and restore them before putting them on display, he said.

Last week, an official announced that the underground city of Samen will soon open its doors to visitors.

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 riyals ($84,000) have so far been spent on the research, exploration, restoration, organization, lighting and equipment of the underground city of Sameen, the official added.

The underground settlement of Samen has 25 rock-hewn rooms connected by tunnels and corridors.

It appears that the underground complex was first used for religious purposes, then as a cemetery, and finally as a shelter during emergencies.

Located 400 km west of Tehran, the underground complex is believed to have been built sometime between the fall of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) and the early Parthian era (247 BC-224 AD).

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

Iran is a haven for ancient troglodyte architecture, which is somewhat forgotten, although it is full of life and creativity. The northwestern village of Kandovan is one of the most famous examples of troglodyte architecture in the country; its ice cream cone-shaped houses resemble those in Turkish Cappadocia.

In October 2018, the country hosted the 3rd International Conference on Troglodyte Architecture, where dozens of experts, researchers and scholars discussed architecture, culture and technology related to troglodytes.

Known in classical times as Ecbatana, Hamedan was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. There is pitifully little left from antiquity, but significant parts of the city center have been excavated. Ecbatana was the capital of Media and later the summer residence of the Achaemenid kings who ruled Persia from 553 to 330 BC.

Hamadan had many names: it may have been Bit Daiukki to the Assyrians, Hangmatan or Agbatan to the Medes, and Ecbatan to the Greeks. One of the Median capitals under Cyrus II (died 529 BC) and later Achaemenian rulers, it housed the summer royal palace.

Around 1220, Hamedan was destroyed by the Mongols. In 1386, it was plundered by the Turkic conqueror Timur (Tamerlan), and the inhabitants were killed. It was partially restored in the 17th century and subsequently changed hands frequently between Iranian ruling houses and the Ottomans.

Situated on a high plain, Hamedan is delightfully 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, Hegmatane Hill, Alavian Dome, Jame Mosque and St. Stephen’s Gregorian Church are some of Hamedan’s attractions.

ASH/MG

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