Known in classical times as Ecbatana, Hamadan was once one of the ancient world’s greatest cities. significant parts of the city centre are given over to excavations and there is a scattering of historical curiosities. Sitting on a high plain, Hamadan is graciously cool in August, but snow-prone and freezing cold from December to March. In the summer the air is often hazy, but on a rare, clear spring day there are impressive glimpses of snow capped Mt Alvand (3580m) preening itself above the ragged neo-colonial cupolas of Imam Khomeini Sq. A popular summer retreat, Hamadan’s main draw card for Iranian visitors is its proximity to the Ali Sadr Caves, but these are vastly over-rated.