We all have heard about Acropolis and other ancient ruins that scream the magnificence of their builders, but there is one ancient site that definitely needs more exposure than it currently gets. It’s Persepolis, the city of Persians.
The ancient ruins are located around 17 miles away from Shiraz, one of the most interesting and popular tourist destinations in Iran. Interestingly though, it usually doesn’t enter the international lists of must-sees.
Persepolis was built by Darius the Great in 518 BC. It faced the Kooh-e Rahmat, which literally means the Mountain of Mercy.
Parsa, which is another name for Persepolis, was made the capital of Persian Empire during the reign of Darius. It was the center of the empire, the city that held the best pieces of Persian grandeur!
Although the city was located in the mountains and was not easily accessible, Alexander the Great managed to loot it in 330 BC and take the Persian treasures with him.
After the Alexandrian tragedy the city was in ruins and lost its importance, the palaces were in fire, the buildings turned into stone hills. While it’s hard to picture the luxury and tragedy of the ancient time, every visitor understands the loss the resident faced.
After Alexander the Great left the city, the entire world forgot about the city. Eventually the buildings gathered dust and sand, which concealed any signs of the former capital.
The discovery was made in 1930s, when the buildings were excavated before the eyes of the modern world.
Make sure to take a few strolls around the necropolis called Naghsh-e Rostam. It contains 4 tombs carved into the rock.
Apadana Palace, another important piece, is the largest building in Persepolis. The palace was completed during the son of Darius, Xerxes I. Today you’ll see only 13 columns left from the gigantic building. Originally there were 72 columns holding the roof. The palace contained the main hall, where the Persian emperor would meet the guests.
The Gate of Xerxes I was actually reconstructed after the excavations. It was originally built by the order of Xerxes I and bears inscriptions in the three official languages of the empire – Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite.
Make sure to visit the King’s Bath, Sasanian rock reliefs, Palace of Darius, and so on.
- While the site is popular with tourists, it doesn’t have convenient facilities to serve them. It’s very hot in summer, with no water stands or shops whatsoever. So, make sure to bring a couple of bottles of water, because you’ll definitely need it. Another option would be visiting the site off season.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Persepolis is not a city with flat streets and stairs. Some of the latter ones are very slipper, and the roads can be rocky and dusty.
- If you’re an experienced traveler, you’ll definitely grab a sunscreen and a hat. As mentioned before, it’s quite sunny there.
- If you have a friend that is into Persian history, ask them to accompany you. If not, find a good guide to tell about the secrets and mysteries of Persepolis. A good storytelling can make a difference.
Finally, after a tour through the ancient Persepolis, you’d definitely want to go back once more … or twice more. So, enjoy every minute of your tour, because it’ll never be enough for Persepolis!