Magnificent Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid; 7.30am-5pm Nov-Mar, 8am-6pm summer) embodies the greatest successes of the ancient Achaemenid Empire… And its final demise. The monumental staircases, exquisite reliefs and imposing gateways leave you in 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. 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 multicultural concoction is alone in the ancient world, and while largely ruined it remains the greatest surviving masterpiece of the ancient Near Eastern civilisations. Respected scholar Arthur Upham Pope ably summed up the philosophy behind Persepolis in Introducing Persian Architecture (published by Tuttle in 1982).
Humane sentiments found expression in the nobility and sheer beauty of the building: more rational and gracious than the work of the Assyrians or Hittites, more lucid and humane than that of the Egyptians. The beauty of Persepolis is not the accidental counterpart of mere size and costly display; it is the result of beauty being specifically recognised as sovereign value.
Some historians believe the site of Persepolis was chosen by Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the Great, but work did not begin until after Darius I (the Great) took the throne in 518 BC. It was added to by a host of subsequent kings, including Xerxes I and II, and Artaxerxes I, II and III, over a period of more than 150 years.
The ruins you see today are a mere shadow of Persepolis’ former glory. But their very existence is due in part to the fact the ancient city was lost for centuries, totally covered by dust and sand. It wasn’t until the 1930s that extensive excavations revealed its glories once again.
Note that there is little shade at Persepolis and from May until early October it can be sweltering, so bring a hat and water.
Gate of the all nations: referring to subjects of the empire, consisted of a grand hall that was a square of approximately 25 meters (82 feet) in length, with four columns and its entrance on the Western Wall. There were two more doors, one to the south which opened to the Apadana yard and the other opened onto a long road to the east. Pivoting devices found on the inner corners of all the doors indicate that they were two-leafed doors, probably made of wood and covered with sheets of ornate metal. A pair of Lamassus, bulls with the heads of bearded men, stand by the western threshold. Another pair, with wings and a Persian head, stands by the eastern entrance, to reflect the Empire’s power. Xerxes’ name was written in three languages and carved on the entrances, informing everyone that he ordered it to be built.
The Apadana Palace: Darius the Great built the greatest palace at Persepolis in the western side. This palace was called the Apadana (the root name for modern “Iwan”). The King of the Kings used it for official audiences. The work began in 515 BC. His son Xerxes I completed it 30 years later. The palace had a grand hall in the shape of a square, each side 60 m long with seventy-two columns, thirteen of which still stand on the enormous platform. Each column is 19 m high with a square Taurus and plinth. The columns carried the weight of the vast and heavy ceiling. The tops of the columns were made from animal sculptures such as two headed bulls, lions and eagles.
The Throne Hall (The Palace of Hundred Column) Next to the Apadana Palace, second largest building of the Terrace and the final edifices, is the Throne Hall or the Imperial Army’s hall of honor, This 70×70 square meter hall was started by Xerxes and completed by his son Artaxerxes I by the end of the fifth century BC. Its eight stone doorways are decorated on the south and north with reliefs of throne scenes and on the east and west with scenes depicting the king in combat with monsters. Two colossal stone bulls flank the northern portico. In the beginning of Xerxes’s reign the Throne Hall was used mainly for receptions for military commanders and representatives of all the subject nations of the empire. Later the Throne Hall served as an imperial museum.
Tachar Palace: you should soak-up yourself at archaeological atmosphere when visiting Persepolis. the Tachar palace which was built under Darius I, and the Imperial treasury which was started by Darius in 510 BC and finished by Xerxes in 480 BC.
The Hadish palace: Ordered by Xerxes I, occupies the highest level of terrace and stands on the living rock. The Council Hall, the Tryplion Hall, The Palaces of D, G, H, Storerooms, Stables and quarters, Unfinished Gateway and a few Miscellaneous Structures at Persepolis are located near the south-east corner of the Terrace, at the foot of the mountain.
Tombs of King of Kings: there are 2 necropolises included what we visit in Perseolis, The two completed graves above Persepolis would then belong to Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III.
Ancient texts, Cuneiforms and inscriptions in Persepolis: Rock-carves and ancient texts are among the favorite subjects in Persepolis, you see them probably everywhere, the main purpose of these ancient texts are to promote what king of the kings has ordered to build. The cuneiform inscriptions of the gate of the nations are one good example. That says by favoure of Ahuramazda I built this gate of the nations.