Persepolis – ‘The Persian City’

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Persepolis Ruins in Iran

Address: Takht-e Jamshid
Opening hours: 8am-5pm November-March, to 7pm April-October
Cost: £3

Perespolis, literally ‘The Persian City’, is one of the most magnificent places you will see in Iran. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its incredible grandeur, history and uniqueness are all reasons to go for a visit.

Persepolis is a location that represents the greatest successes and the final fall of the ancient Achaemenid Empire. The staircases, reliefs and gateways give you a good idea of how great the empire was. Alternatively, the broken columns show how merciless its ending was.

The ruins that can be viewed today are a look into the former glory of Persepolis. The ancient city was lost for centuries and was completely covered in dust and sand. It was during the 1930s that extensive digs led to the discovery of the glory of Persepolis once again.

One of the top things to see in Persepolis is the Palace of 100 Columns. It was an incredible hall measuring 70m square and was supported by 100 stone columns. This was once the second largest building in Persepolis and was constructed during the reigns of Xerxes and Artaxerxes I.

Some scholars think that the Palace of Columns were used to receive the military elite. An array of broken columns has been left, and there are reliefs on the doorjambs at the back of the building. These present a king, soldiers and representatives of 28 subject nations.

The Apadana Palace and Staircase – Persepolis, Iran

From the Palace of 100 Columns, you can access one of the most impressive historical sights in all of Iran – the Apadana Palace and Staircase. The bas-reliefs of the staircase are incredibly striking with many parts of it being preserved amazingly well. On the northern panels, the three tiers of figures can be seen. Each tier contains representations of the most elite of the Imperial Guard, the Immortals and the Persian nobles. Other tiers include representations of royal processions. The most impressive of them all is the 23 delegations taking their gifts to the Achaemenid King.

Persepolis is a place oozing in history and magnificent wonders. This is a highly recommended day trip from Shiraz, where you can go from the southern edge of the Karandish Terminal. You can also take a minibus or savari (shared taxi) to Marvdasht. From there, you can take an occasional savari to Persepolis. A taxi dar baste (private taxi) from Persepolis to Shiraz should cost about £9. This route includes quick stops to Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab too.

Persepolis is a place with little shade, so during the months from May until early October, the heat can be sweltering, so be sure to take sunglasses, a hat and a bottle of water. If you forget a hat, there are stands there that sell them, and you can practise your haggling skills too. If you have a backpack or tripod with you, you will be asked to leave these at the ticket office as well.

For me, Persepolis is one of the most memorable places I have ever visited. It again proves how diverse the country of Iran is. You go to Esfahan for the lush, green spaces and beautiful architecture, Tehran for the up and coming liberal scene and Tabriz for the stunning mosaics – and then there’s Persepolis for the preserved, incredible history. A definite must for all and especially for those traveling in the Shiraz area.

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