Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 78, Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid), Iran

Ever since Wilma ( told me about this magnificent place I have wanted to visit Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid) in southwestern Iran.....finally my dream is about to come true.....yippee!!!

Phew, it is really hot here in August...luckily we have our hats and water.

No, Amit, you cannot wear shorts. The strict dress code for men in Iran prohibits short trousers and short sleeved shirts / t-shirts!! Can't you see that all us females are dressed conservatively and we have covered our hair appropriately? All of us are wearing loose fitting garments which cover our arms and legs!
Stop complaining about the heat...and let's move on......

The ancient city of Persepolis was founded by Darius I in 518 BC as the capital of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

On an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace the great king created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models.

Though evidence of prehistoric settlement at Persepolis has been discovered, inscriptions indicate that construction of the city began under Darius I the Great (reigned 522–486 BC). As a member of a new branch of the royal house, Darius made Persepolis the new capital of Persia (
replacing Pasargadae, the burial place of Cyrus the Great).

Built in a remote and mountainous region, Persepolis was an inconvenient royal residence, visited mainly in the spring.

In 330 BC, Alexander the Great plundered the city and burned the palace of Xerxes,

( /xerxes-palace/sphere-flash.html) .

In 316 BC Persepolis was still the capital of Persis as a province of the Macedonian empire, but the city gradually declined in the Seleucid period and after. In the 3rd century AD the nearby city of Istakhr became the centre of the Sasanian empire.

The site of Persepolis is a sight to behold....
As we slowly walk up a magnificent double stair,

in two flights of 111 easy stone steps..... ( one has to stop and!
At the top of the stairs the first thing we see is Xerxes Gateway

with three separate doors and a hallway ( wow!

To the south of gateway, we see the the Apadana Palace (audience hall) ( where kings received visitors and celebrated Noruz (the Persian New Year).

Persepolis was occupied only on great occasions of national importance. There are almost no signs of daily wear.
Many of the original giant stones, cut with the utmost precision and laid without mortar, are still in place.

The monumental staircases, exquisite reliefs and imposing gateways leave us no doubt how grand this city was and how totally dominant the empire that built it.
Equally, the broken and fallen columns attest that the end of empire was emphatic.

So Nopi, (our historian) why was the Macedonian king, Alexander the Great, such a meanie??

Nopi says that he destroyed several palace buildings
in April 330 BC, because he was not yet sole ruler of the Persian empire, and it was too dangerous to leave the enormous treasures behind, where his enemies could recapture them.

The Palace of Xerxes seems to have received a special treatment, because it was damaged more severely than other buildings; it is likely that the Greek soldiers in Alexander's company had their revenge for the destruction of Athens in 480 BCE. When Alexander returned several years later and saw the ruins, he regretted his act :-(

Persepolis is a result of the vast body of skill and knowledge gathered from throughout the Achaemenids' empire. It is Persian in ideology and design, but truly international in its superb architecture and artistic execution.

This place is absolutely amazing!!!
Now we can understand why it is UNESCO as a World Heritage Site!

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