The ancient Greek name for a city in the Zagros highlands above the river Tigris, now the city of Hamadan in west-central Iran.

The western terminus of the Silk Road to China, Ecbatana was the originally the capital of the Medes. According to Herodotus, Median king Deioces made it his capital around 800 BC.  Herodotus describes a fabulously wealthy city with seven rings of walls, with the palace and treasury on a hill at the center.

Ecbatana remained the center of an empire until about 549 BC, when Achaemenid Persian king Cyrus I overthrew Median overlordship.  Cyrus made Ecbatana his summer retreat, a tradition kept by the Achaemenids, as well as the Seleucid kings and Parthian emperors who followed.

The city is called "Achmetha" in Ezra 6. It also appears under its Greek name in the apocryphal book of JudithEsther and Mordecai are said to be buried there.
 
In 324 BC, Alexander the Great stopped here for an extended bacchanal, but his lover Hephaestion ate and drank himself to death, and Alexander died soon after.

The end of the Parthian Empire came in 641 when the advancing jihad crushed the Parthians at at the battle of Nahavand near Ecbatana.   In 1220 the armies of Genghis Khan destroyed Hamadan.  Timur (aka Tamerlane) destroyed it again in 1386, this time massacring its entire population.

A mound to the east of Hamadan, called the "Mossala", is supposed to hold the ruins of ancient Ecbatana, but other sources say Hamadan itself lies directly on top of the ruins.

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