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Iran: Persepolis

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Persepolis > Iran > Asia

[Visited: May 2001]

Construction of Persepolis started in 520 BCE by Darius I, and was never completely finished. In the end it was used as a residence by later kings, and some of them were also buried here. Although the palaces stand on a platform, the complex has been covered by earth for many centuries which has helped greatly for its conservation - only after Persepolis had been destroyed by first Alexander the Great and others. The Greeks gave it it's name, which literally means Persian city, or destroyed city.

Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Detail of Persepolis

While you walk up the low stairs of the palace (the steps are low because horses had to be able to walk up), the complex towers above you. As you enter through the Xerxes gateway, the grounds open up to you on your right. From here, I was struck by the fine sculptures in the stones everywhere. Intricate details have remained almost intact for nearly 2,500 years. They tell a story of parties, ceremonies, and tribute processions, and represent 23 of the supposedly 127 nations of the Persian Empire.

Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Persepolis - entrance

As I tried to imagine the complex as it supposedly has been so many years ago, I felt very small. The columns held ceilings of around 60 metres high. Many parts were covered in gold, enamelled bricks in luminous colours. Fortunately we had arrived early, so we could relax and let the immensity of what this palace had once been, sink into our conscience. Looking at the sculptured humans, animals, flowers, but also the various ancient scripts, could only make us aware of the greatness of this place.

Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Persepolis - columns
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Persepolis - entrance gate
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Persepolis: king fighting lion
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Detail of Xerxes gateway at Persepolis
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Detail of Elamite script - Persepolis
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Unfinished Gate - Persepolis
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Tachara Palace - Persepolis
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Hall of Hundred Columns - Persepolis
Picture of Persepolis (Iran): Double-headed eagle at Persepolis

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