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 Location: 35 miles NE of Shiraz, Iran.  Grid Reference: 29� 56' 9" N, 52� 53' 23" E.


      Persepolis: (Persian Capital).

The city of Persepolis was built in a remote and mountainous region of modern day Iran during the reign of Darius I, who made it the capital of Persia.

The earliest remains of Persepolis date from around 515 BC (Darius I: 522�486 BC). To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, which means "The City of Persians". Persepolis is the Greek interpretation of the name Πέρσης πόλις (Persēs polis: "Persian city"). 

(Click here for Map of site)


Article: (Cais News, May, 2011). 'Persepolis Will Cease to Exist in Less than a Decade'.

'The stones of the ancient city of Persepolis requires urgent attention to be protected otherwise it will be destroyed in less than a decade. The penetration of rainwater inside the platform, which has formed a large pool, as well as the severe damp have caused the stonework to crack and crumble, particularly in the recent months, and within a few years the whole platform will collapse.


This is mainly due to the fact that the sewages-channels constructed by the Achaemenid engineers to direct the excess waters outside the platform have been blocked. In addition, due to the increase of subterranean waters generated from the lake formed behind the infamous Sivand Dam has caused a severe rise in damp, to the extent that can be smelt and felt in the air.'

(Link to Article)



The city of Persepolis was built in a remote and mountainous region of modern day Iran during the reign of Darius I, who made it the capital of Persia. Darius transferred the capital of the Achaemenian dynasty to Persepolis from Pasargadae, where Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire, had ruled.

Persepolis consists of the remains of several monumental buildings on a vast artificial stone terrace about 450 by 300 m (1,480 by 1,000 ft). A double staircase, wide and shallow enough for horses to climb, led from the plains below to the top of the terrace. At the head of the staircase, visitors passed through the Gate of Xerxes, a gatehouse guarded by enormous carved stone bulls.

Although inscriptions indicate that construction of the city began under Darius I, archaeologists have discovered evidence of prehistoric settlement,  (1)

(Right: The seal of Darius. British Museum.)


The beautifully carved double stairwell leading up to the great carved platform.


The Apadana: The largest and most magnificent building on the site is the 'Apadana', which was begun be Darius the Great and finished by Xerxes, his son. thirteen of its original seventy-two columns are still standing.

The palaces and temples were destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC, who according to Plutarch, 'Carried away its treasures on 20,000 mules and 5,000 camels'.



Three kilometers south of Persepolis, in the plain of Marv Dasht, lies the prehistoric site of Tall-i-Bakun, consisting of two flat hillocks. Here in 1928, Ernst Herzfeld, of the University of Berlin, decided to undertake a trial excavation of the western mound, where he had previously discovered many prehistoric sherds Iying about on the ground. Later, in 1932, he conducted more extensive excavations, subsequently continued by Erich F. Schmidt (1935�37).

The main deposits of the western hill produced a large quantity of ceramics with unusually beautiful painted patterns dating mostly to the fourth millennium B.C. Unexpectedly, many rooms of the settlement contained a substantial number of unbroken vessels, many of them standing on the floors of the houses, sometimes nested one in another. A great wealth of designs and variations are seen in this cream-colored ware. Many show different geometrical patterns, some simple, some intricate. Fewer have beautifully stylized animal designs depicting either ibexes or mouflons. These vessels manifest a remarkable artistic balance between geometric ornament and animal design. Large jars, usually made in two parts, show distinct markings characteristic of a vessel turned by hand.

Besides these pottery vessels, numerous painted clay figurines of humans and animals were discovered. Other ceramic objects consisted of scrapers, in the form of stirrups, which were used for smoothing and decorating vessel surfaces before the vessels were fired. These scrapers�although made of clay�were so strong, and their scraping edges so sharp, that they were also used for scraping hides. In addition to this vast amount of pottery, there were large quantities of knives, blades, and copper daggers. There were also many button seals, mostly made of green stone, showing beautifully incised designs. Finally, some well-preserved clay labels and seal impressions were excavated. (2)


In 1933 two sets of gold and silver plates recording in the three forms of cuneiform, Ancient Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian, the boundaries of the Persian Empire were discovered in the foundations of Darius' hall of audience.


The Tomb of Darius I.

Not far from Persepolis, around 13 km northeast is a perpendicular wall of rock into which four grandiose rock-cut tombs were cut at a considerable height from the bottom of the valley.

This place is called Naqsh-e Rostam (Picture of Rostam), from the Sasanian carvings below the tombs once thought to represent the mythical hero Rostam. It seems from the sculptures that the occupants of these four tombs were Achaemenian kings; one of those at Naqsh-e Rostam is expressly declared in its inscriptions to be the tomb of Darius I, son of Hystaspes.

The three other tombs at Naqsh-e Rostam, besides that of Darius I, are probably those of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I (both above), and Darius II. The two completed graves behind Persepolis probably belong to Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III. The unfinished one might be that of Arses, who reigned at the longest two years, but is more likely that of Darius III, last of the Achaemenian line, who was overthrown by Alexander the Great.


Persepolis: (Middle-Eastern Geodesy).

One of the most obvious features about the location of Persepolis is the fact that it was constructed along the 30th parallel. The 30th parallel had a special significance in prehistory. 

The complex is curious for several reasons, not least the complete lack of housing in a citadel of temples and shrines, suggesting the site functioned in a 'sacred' capacity. Until Hancock's suggestion that Persepolis was deliberately sited 7� 12' from Giza, the reason for the location of Persepolis itself was considered a mystery, as the city seems to have been built in the middle of nowhere, far from any other known contemporary ancient cities or urban centres. In fact, this recognition of its placement along the 30th parallel combined with a geometric relationship to both Giza and Mt. Ararat offers a perfectly reasonable explanation for its placement.

'Because of the advanced geodetic and geographic science of the Egyptians, Egypt became the geodetic centre of the known world. Other countries located their shrines and capital cities in terms of Egyptian 'zero' meridian, including such capitals such as Nimrod, Sardis, Susa, Persepolis (at 3 x 7� 12' = 21� 36' east of Giza (Heliopolis), and apparently even the ancient Chinese capital of An-Yang..' (4).

The relevance of 7� 12� can be found in the following expression:

(7� 12� x 5 = 36� x 10 = 360�)

It is noticeable that the borders of ancient Egypt extend from Behdet to the great cataract, a distance of exactly 7� 12' longitude.

(More about Prehistoric Egyptian Geodesy)


Gallery of Images: Persepolis.


Two of the remaining standards at Persepolis.

The 'Gate of all Nations' with two sentinel 'Lagash'.


(Other Sumerian Sites)




1). http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/452680/Persepolis
2). http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum/collections/pa/persepolis/bakun.html
3). http://www.iranchamber.com/history/persepolis/persepolis1.php
4). G. Hancock. Heavens Mirror, 1998, Michael Joseph Ltd.


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