Persepolis (Takht-e- Jamshid)
It is one of the great wonders of Iran. Impressive ruins steeped in the history of the mighty Achaemenid empire. The Persians called the city Parseh, while the Greeks called it Persepolis whose meaning is the city of the Persians. Darius I began the construction of this palatial city in 518 b. C., inspired by those buildings so typical of Mesopotamia, and continued for about 120 years by his successors and later kings. Persepolis covers an area of 125,000 square meters, built on an artificial terrace of which some still some platforms survive forming four different levels. The building’s rocks weigh more than 250 tons. According to some discoveries, these rocks had been extracted from mines and transferred to this city and from all nations such as Iranians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Elamites and Assyrians, people came to cooperate in the construction of the Achaemenid palaces.
Persepolis is said to be the setting for important public ceremonies and events. Contrary to the fact that it was assumed that the workers of Persepolis did not get paid with money like those of the Pyramids of Egypt, with the discovery of tablets, inscriptions and scrolls it was known that both women and men participating in the construction of Persepolis in addition to their salary, enjoyed job benefits and insurance. The inscriptions found show the solidarity and friendship of the Iranian people, as well as a lack of discrimination and equality among all nations. This city was destroyed by the troops of Alexander the Great in the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. They say that more than 10,000 mules and camels were needed to transport the loot from the sack of Persepolis. The buildings of the highest parts corresponded to the noble dependencies and the lowest ones to the services. Persepolis consists of a series of palaces such as:
- Nations Gate
- Puerta de las Naciones
- Persepolis Staircase
- Palace of the 100 Columns
- Apadana Palace
- Tachara (Palace of Darius the Great)
- Hadish (Palace of Xerxes)
- Tripylon (Xerxes Audience Hall)
- Harem and museum
In 330 BC, Alexander the Macedonian attacked Persia and set fire to the palaces of Persepolis, so that there was no nothing left of glory except the ruins, pillars and stairs. Persepolis was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
The Gate of All Nations or Xerxes Gate
The door of all nations or the door of Xerxes, through which the people entered the enclosure, was erected by King Xerxes I, as a monument that united all the peoples that he ruled in 475 BC. C. Climbing 111 wide stairs, we reached the entrance. Today the colossal winged bulls with human heads survive that guarded the door and part of the structure with bas-reliefs. The colossal bulls on either side of the western entrance are 5 meters tall, of Assyrian origin.
Apadana Palace of Darius
It is the largest construction in Persepolis and it is an ancient hypostyle hall that served as an audience hall for the king. It had columns 24 meters high, although today there are only fourteen standing columns. It is said that in Achaemenid times there were up to seventy-two pillars with a sculpture of a double-headed cow or lion on top in this 120,000-square-meter hall that was undoubtedly the jewel of the royal palace.
The palace has two entrance staircases covered with reliefs and 80 meter high walls on which are engraved images of Achaemenid soldiers, governors gifts to the king and a lion jumping on the back of a bull. Military commanders on the stairs hold lilies as symbols of peace and friendship. The reliefs of the stairs to the west are in good condition as they are more recent compared to those to the north and were buried until 1932 AD. Among the walls stands one with the image of the citizens of the 23 nations that made up the Persian Empire, carrying a typical gift from their place of origin.
A palace built by the order of Darius the Great, which is the best preserved in Persepolis saved from fire. In the inscription with cuneiform writing found in this palace, this phrase has been carved: “I, Darius, made this Tachara”, as in other of his palaces. Tachara with dimensions of 30 × 40 meters, it is built on an area of 1160 square meters and 12 columns support its roof. The name Tachara, which means winter palace, was chosen by the king who had chosen it as his private residence. This palace is known as the calligraphy museum because of so many inscriptions in ancient Persian calligraphy, including Pahlavi.
A palace twice the size of Darius’ and the tallest, built under Xerxes and Hadish, Xerxes’ second wife to whom the palace belonged. From this palace there are stairs that connect the Tachara palace with that of the Queen. This palace is in a very bad state and according to the evidence, the burning of Persepolis started from here; probably as Alexander the Great’s revenge on Xerxes, who destroyed Athens.
Built under the mandate of King Xerxes to give it to his wife. This palace used as a museum is at a lower height than others. Now it has been using under the title of museum.
Palace of the 100 Columns
An astonishing monument with an area of 45,000 square meters. The reason for its name is the existence of 100 pillars 14 meters high in 10 rows supporting the roof. Strolling through the palace among the ruins of columns and decorated pieces and reliefs, the opportunity is provided for our imagination to fly back to distant times. Until excavations carried out in 1878, this room was buried under 3 meters of earth and cedar ash.
Council Palace or Tripylon
A mansion with three entrances in the center of Persepolis. The images carved in this place and sculptures of human heads as symbols of thought make it so unique. This palace can be accessed by a staircase carved with reliefs of Median and Persian guards. This palace was probably the place where the meetings of the kings with the military heads of the country took place in order to consult on issues. The other staircase, located south of the Tripylon, is kept in the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.
Place of collection of gold, ornaments and trophies of the kings, built by the order of King Darius I. The treasure consists of two main rooms, whose ceiling was supported by 100 and 99 wooden columns, respectively. Despite being looted by Alexander the Great’s troops and then burned, recent excavations have unearthed valuable aircraft along with clay and wood tablets, mortars, stone plates with Aramaic scriptures, statues and weapons caches. According to Greek historians, Alexander of Macedon needed 10,000 mules and 5,000 camels to transport valuable treasury possessions.