Thursday, May 29, 2008

Esther-Mordekhay (Mordechai) Tomb in Hamedan

Esther-Mordekhay Tomb in Hamedan
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The Tomb of Esther and Mordekhay is located on Shariati Avenue, in crowded downtown of Hamedan city. Construction materials used in this edifice are stone and bricks. It was built in compliance with the Islamic architectural style.
The tomb was built in the seventh century AH on top of an older building dating back to the third century AH, Tacher website reported.
The tomb’s door, a 6-8 inch thick piece of solid gray granite with a rough surface, opens into a small anteroom. A soot-blackened glass separates visitors from a space designated for candle lighting.
An arch with plaster ornaments directs visitors into a high ceiling square room the walls of which are decorated with Hebrew reliefs describing Esther and Mordekhay origins. In the center, the two beautifully carved coffins stand five feet high, draped in shimmering vibrant color cloth, one reading ’Esther’, the other ’Mordekhay’. The original graves are located deeper below in the ground.
Another surviving treasure is a magnificent 300-year-old Torah that is now housed at the provincial Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department.
A brief description of the biography of Esther and Mordekhay as outlined by the Torah follows:
An ancient king of Persia, Ardeshir married a Jewish woman called Esther, who was the niece of one of the dignitaries of the time called Mordekhay. This way Jews gained a great deal of influence in Ardeshir’s court.
Meanwhile, a person called Haman, who was also another influential dignitary, felt jealous of the mounting influence of Jews and urged Ardeshir to issue the order for the massacre of Jews. However, Mordekhay resorted to Esther to convince Ardeshir to cancel his order. Ardeshir accepted and hence Jews were rescued from being massacred. From then on, toward the beginning of spring, Jews hold a special ritual for praying and fasting called ’Purim’ to commemorate the anniversary of the rescue of Jews from massacre.
Esther’s real name was Hadseh. But, since she was very beautiful, she was called Esther, which means star.
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