Persepolis, also known as (Parseh, Takhte Jamshid, Hezarsotun or Chehel Manar) is located in the north of Fars province (fifty kilometers northeast of Shiraz).
Persepolis is the name of one of the ancient cities of Iran, which many years ago was the beautiful capital of the kingdom of Iran during the Achaemenid period. In this ancient city, there was a place that was used for holding ceremonies and celebrations, especially Nowruz, during the reign of the ancient kings.
The founder of Persepolis was Darius the Great. After him, his son, Xerxes, and his grandson, Ardeshir expanded the collection. Much of the current information about the Achaemenids and their culture is obtained through inscriptions, which are engraved in these palaces and on its walls and tablets.
Alexander, a Greek general, invaded Persia in 330 BC and set fire to Persepolis, destroying much of the Achaemenid literature, culture, and art. However, the ruins of this place are still standing in Fars province and it is one of the tourist attractions of Iran.
Construction of Persepolis
This magnificent building was built in 518 BC and still stands. This collection, which was registered in UNESCO World Heritage in 1979, is known as the largest and most magnificent ancient monument in Iran.
To build this collection, a large number of engineers, architects, and artists were used, many of whom had come to Iran from other countries to build a huge building that would be a symbol of unity, world peace, and equality. The construction of Persepolis dates back to the reign of Darius, which continued until the time of his son Xerxes and even his grandson Ardeshir. Each of these people has added monuments to the collection that have made the construction of this huge building last up to 188 years.
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Historical monuments of Persepolis
The Persepolis complex has seven halls or palaces with more than 3,000 relief motifs, and these motifs are surprisingly harmonious and interconnected. Stairs and columns and two stone tombs are located in this complex. In the following, we will introduce each of these seven palaces to get more acquainted with the details and splendor of Persepolis in Shiraz.
Among the palaces of Persepolis, Apadana Palace is both older than other palaces and has a special glory and has made it always the center of attention in Persepolis. The construction of this palace began by order of Darius in 515 BC and its construction took almost 30 years. The area of 3660 square meters of this palace has made it one of the most magnificent buildings in Persepolis.
its columns are made of stone. The walls of this palace are made of clay, along with the brick facade and its columns are made of solid stones. The main hall of Apadana Palace has 36 columns, which are about twenty meters high and were very strong, and even until the Qajar kingdom period, when a long time had passed since their construction, many columns remained strong. Unfortunately, out of a total of 72 columns in the palace, only 14 are left. In all geographical directions except the south, there were 12-column porches. The stairs of the eastern porch were the main entrance of the palace during the reign of the kings, which is why you can see the most important engraving of Persepolis on these stairs.
Hadish Palace means high place and it is said that because Xerxes’s second wife was named Hadish, this palace was named after her in gratitude. Hadish Palace is located in the southernmost and highest part of Persepolis, which is known as the private palace of Xerxes. The palace had two sets of stairs that connected it to the Queen’s Palace. In this palace, there is a picture of Xerxes with a flat crown, and there is an inscription in ancient Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian above his head. Unfortunately, the palace was badly damaged in the fire.
Malake (Queen) Palace
This palace was built by the order of Xerxes, which is located at a lower height than the rest of the buildings in Persepolis. Part of the palace was built by Professor Ernst Emil Herzfeld in 1931 and Re-excavation and reconstruction. Today, this palace is used as a museum and the central office of Persepolis facilities.
Another hall of Persepolis is H Palace, which is located in the west of Hadish Palace. There were also engraved stairs on both sides of the palace, which are now almost half-ruined.
Tachar Palace or Darius Private Palace
Another palace of Persepolis that has a long history is Tachar Palace, the construction of which was started by the order of Darius and at the same time with Apadana. This palace is also called the Hall of Mirrors and the reason is that it is made of clear polished stones. This palace has 12 columns and in the south of it, there is a porch with columns, which was the residence of Darius. The word Tachar or Taraz in ancient Persian meant winter house. However, no information is available as to whether this palace was actually Darius’ residence during the winter.
This palace is 30 meters wide and 40 meters long, which parts were added to this palace during the reign of Xerxes until Ardashir III. There were motifs such as the battle of the king, crowns and bracelets, etc. of precious metals in the body of this palace, which was stolen by him and his companions after the attack of Alexander.
Se Dar (three-door) Palace
Another of the palaces located in the center of the royal castle of Persepolis is the Se Dar palace, which led to other palaces through three gates and several corridors. This led to this palace being called the Se Dar central palace. The Se Dar palace was also called the Council Hall because of the type of use and location of the palace. On the steps of this palace is the image of Persian nobles who went to meet the rulers in a friendly manner, that is, with a branch of a lotus flower, and informally.
This palace has an area of 240,000 square meters and in the center, there is a stone with dimensions of 75 by 71 cm, in the middle of which a hole has been created. Some have said that this was the place to extract the calendar and to know the time, day, and month. In the doorway on the north porch, there is a picture of Ardeshir with a long beard and a royal staff in his hand, who is leaving the hall with a lotus. Above the throne and canopy is a picture of a winged man called Far Kiani.
Sad Sotun (Hundred Pillars) Palace
Another important palace of Persepolis is the Palace of One Hundred Pillars, the construction of which began in 470 BC and continued until 490 BC. The area of this palace is 4700 square meters with a 16-column porch in the north. The height of the pillars of this palace was 14 meters and it is said that its construction was completed in the time of Ardashir I. This palace is known as the second-largest palace in Persepolis. The name of this palace is so named because of the hundred columns in its central hall and it is known as the largest indoor hall in the world. It is said that Ardeshir spoke about this palace as follows: “My father Khashayar Shah laid this house foundation, and with the approval of Ahuramazda, I, Ardeshir, finished it.”
One of the palaces that existed in Persepolis and nothing is left of it, was the G palace, in which there were pictures of soldiers and crew, in front of them, there were dishes and snacks that were being taken to the Darius palace. Stairs on either side of the palace led to Hadish Palace.
Other places of interest in Persepolis
Apart from the mentioned palaces, there are other places of interest in Persepolis that have added to its splendor. Here are some of these antiquities.
Darvazeh Melal (Gate of Nations)
In the northwest of Persepolis, there are the main entrance stairs, which were built by Xerxes and there are 111 steps on each side. The width of each of these stairs is 38 cm and the height of each is 10 cm. The reason why the stairs are wide is that they are suitable for movement and people can walk on them magnificently.
The oldest building in the Persepolis complex that has been restored is the Persepolis Museum. This building includes a porch, two galleries, and a hall. The roof of the porch of this building is covered with 8 wooden pillars, the two ends of each pillar are the heads of a cow. This museum was opened in 2002, coinciding with the International Museum Day in this collection.
One of the most valuable buildings in Persepolis is the unfinished gate, which of course remains unfinished. This gate was similar to the Gate of the Nations, but there was one difference with it, and that was that two rooms were built on the east and west fronts, and it is said that it was the place where the guards were stationed. It was supposed to be built in the shape of a winged cow, It remained unfinished with Alexander’s attack.
In the southeastern part of Persepolis, a part called the treasury has been built. This building was built by the order of Darius the Great, and Xerxes made changes. This part is a hall with 99 columns, which has an area of 10,390 square meters, in which 750 clay tablets have been discovered, which is a symbol of civilization and culture during the Achaemenid period. In this building, information is written in the Elamite language about the salaries of workers and employers and how to pay wages, which is a sign of justice and civilization at that time.
This historical monument is located at a distance of 6 and a half kilometers from Persepolis, which was the tomb of the great Persian kings, including Darius the Great, Xerxes Shah, Ardeshir I, and Darius II. There is another tomb that remains unfinished and is said to have belonged to Darius III.
The tomb of Cyrus II of Achaemenid, known as Cyrus the Great, is located in Pasargadae and is a building with special and amazing architecture. In July 2004, this building was registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List and was the fifth Iranian monument to be included in this list. This monument is located 134 km from Shiraz and 82 km from Persepolis. On the tomb of Cyrus the Great is written in ancient cuneiform:
“O human! I am Cyrus, the son of Cambyses, who founded the Persian Empire, and I am the king of Asia. “So do not envy me for this tomb.”