According to Google Maps, Hamedan is about 470 KM from Shush, the Biblical town of Shushan.

If Mordechai and Esther lived in Shushan (where Esther served as Queen), why were they buried so far away in Hamedan?

  • 1
    Why do you assume that that is their actual burial place? Do you believe the Muslims about the burial place of Moses as well?
    – A L
    Dec 4, 2015 at 2:54
  • @AL It's been Jewish tradition for a long time Dec 4, 2015 at 2:56
  • 2
    What is a "long time"? There is no record from 2500 years ago of that tomb. Does the Gemara say its location? I mean, look at the Cave of the Patriarchs. Some Monk found a burial cave (one of many in the area) with Herodian architecture in there, he decided it was the burial place of Abraham et al, wrote the names on the wall, and suddenly we all think they are buried there. What kind of evidence is that? They never studied the bones, did genetic analysis, and found an Abraham that was 180 and an Adam that was 15 feet tall. Beware the origins of "tradition" before you presume them true.
    – A L
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:03
  • 1
    Especially when there are conflicting "traditions" as is the case with their burial location.
    – A L
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:06

2 Answers 2


Encyclopedia Judaica's entry for "Hamadan, Iran" says:

The Persian Jews identify Hamadan with "Shushan ha-Bira," which obviously is a mistake.

An essay entitled "Esther’s Tomb Iran's Jewish queen defies decay and dissolution." by the Diarna Project offers an alternative explanation for the tradition that the tomb is in Hamadan:

Mount Alvand, which overlooks the city proper, hosted the summer residence of Persian royalty of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550?330 BCE, the period when the Purim story is believed to have happened). Tradition has it that Esther and Mordecai–after spending their final years at the royal resort–were buried in the city, next to one another, with a shrine constructed over their graves.

In addition, as noted in the Wikipedia article linked in the question, there's an alternative tradition that Mordechai and Esther are actually buried in the Galilee region of Israel.

  • Why is the mistake so obvious? Dec 2, 2015 at 21:21
  • @ShmuelBrin I guess it's because EJ puts more stock in the conventional identification of modern Shush with ancient Susa/Shushan than in the local tradition that Shushan was in Hamadan.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 2, 2015 at 21:35
  • And the Gemara knew about Hamedan, and didn't identify it as Shushan Dec 2, 2015 at 22:31
  • @Shmuel Brin, where do we see that the Gemara knew about Hamadan?
    – shmu
    Feb 28, 2018 at 8:59
  • I would say which day you celebrate Purim is a much bigger deal than the location of a tomb! Before 1979, which city kept the 15th?
    – Heshy
    Mar 2, 2018 at 16:20

They were buried on land owned by Esther which was given to her by the king. (Esther_8:7)

Haman was descended from Hammedatha of Hamedan.

  • 1. Her tomb is there. 2. Etymological and historical consistency.
    – Shai
    Mar 2, 2018 at 16:51
  • To understand how this came to be, one must focus on how the Persian empire came to be. Hamedan (or Ecbatana [Tobit_3:7; plus fragments of Book found in Qumran caves] or Agmatanu [Nabonidus Chronicles] or Achmetha [Ezra_6:2]) was the chief capital of the Median empire before it became a summer residence for later Achaemenid kings.
    – Shai
    Mar 2, 2018 at 17:33

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