Location: 35 miles NE of Shiraz, Iran.
|| Grid Reference:
29� 56' 9" N, 52� 53' 23" E.
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
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
Article: (Cais News, May, 2011). 'Persepolis
Will Cease to Exist in Less than a Decade'.
stones of the ancient city of Persepolis requires urgent attention
to be protected otherwise it will be destroyed in less than a
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.
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.'
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.
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,
(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
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
The three other
tombs at Naqsh-e Rostam, besides that of Darius I, are probably
those of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I
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
Persepolis was deliberately sited 7� 12' from
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.
the advanced geodetic and geographic science of the Egyptians,
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..'
The relevance of
7� 12� can be found in the following expression:
(7� 12� x 5 = 36�
x 10 = 360�)
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'.