Twice ruled by the Ottomans, in the 16th and 18th centuries, it is called the City of Secrets, referring to the many ancient cities that lay beneath the current one. Founded by Darius the Great, Nahavand is in the province of Hamadan, and is one of Iran's oldest cities.
Darius was considered a great benefactor by the Egyptians, and permitted the Jews to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Perhaps his greatest contribution to historical architecture was the magnificent Palace at Persepolis (see lion mosaic), ancient capital of Persia. This is now a UNESCO World Heritage site near the city of Shiraz, the ruins of which are worth visiting today. In 1971 there was a celebration of the 2,500th year of the Persian Empire, attended by many Kings, Queens and Presidents of most Western nations, rumoured to have cost some $200 million, known as 'the Shah's Last Party.'
It was as an administrator that Darius made his greatest contribution to the history of Persia. He completed Cyrus the Great's organisation of the regions of Iran, and the annual 'tribute' due from each province. He completed ambitious and far-sighted projects to promote trade and commerce. Coinage, weights, and measures were standardised, and land and sea routes developed.
The priceless and beautiful rugs of Nahavand speak of the history of Iran and its people. Much detail shows the hard-working weaver's desire to display his country's flowers, trees-of-life, birds and animals. There is also great balance in overall layout of the brightly-coloured geometric medallions and borders, despite the primitive horizontal floor looms and conditions in which they are woven. This also explains why, although of exceptional quality, there are almost no large Nahavands. A great family rug!