Persepolis

November 24th, 2009 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Around half an hour from Shiraz, is Persepolis. It was the capital of the Persian Empire from around 550 BC to 330 BC when Alexander the Great destroyed the place.

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Around 12 km before Persepolis is Naqsh-e Rustam, which has the tombs of four of the Achaemenid Kings. Two of the tombs are in this photo. The tombs are a fair way up.

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One of the tombs closer up.

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The artwork is well preserved generally.

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They also have on the walls, seven scenes. This is celebrating the victory of Shapur I over Emperor Valerian. Valerian is the only Roman Emperor to be taken into captivity.

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This artwork is thought to be pre-historic – around 9,000 years old.

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Just a km away is Naqsh-e Rajab. Entry to both places is around NZ67c. The site has four inscriptions. In this inscription you can see a noble holding a curved finger up behind the King. This was a sign of respect. Of course today with two fingers it is taking the mickey.

Talking of signs, be aware that giving the thumbs up in , is akin to giving the fingers.

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This is the main gates. The ruins are on a 125,000 square meter terrace.  Those horse like figures were actually bulls.

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Some (rare) grafitti. I’m sure the British Consul-Generals are no longer encouraged to inscribe their names on World Heritage sites.

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These were quite common on the site

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More artwork survives here, than on most Egyptian sites.

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The quality, as you look close up, is wonderful.

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They showed visitors and gifts from over a dozen different countries.

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One of the many palace ruins

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One of the palaces has been restored and turned into a museum, with various pieces on display.

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Up the mountain somewhat, are three tombs.

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Inside the tomb.

When we were up there, one family asked our guide for a photo. We thought they wanted one of the whole family, but they wanted it with Paul and I. In some areas they have obviously never seen a westerner.

Another group were noticeably filming us on their mobile phones.

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Paul, with Layla, our guide. Layla was great. Very talkative, and very knowledgeable. She has been guiding for the last five years, since she was 18.

One amusing thing, was the literal translation of some phrases. It seems in Farsi, saying “If you look closely” in English is “Pay attention”, so all day Layla was telling us to pay attention. The first time she said it I thought I was being told off, until I worked out it was just a translation issue.

If anyone ever does wish to travel there, just contact me for Layla’s contact details if you want a great guide. Very reasonable priced, and makes a big difference.

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The sun spoilt our panorama shots of the site from up by the tomb, so to give you a better idea, this one from Wikipedia gives you an idea of what you can see. You can click on it for a larger image and a second time for fullsize.

If this site was outside Iran, I would say it would have 20,000 people a day through it at least. But here there were barely 100. Now it makes it very nice to have no crowds, but it is a pity so few people get to see such magnificent ancient ruins.

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13 Responses to “Persepolis”

  1. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Absolute slander!

    Alexander did NOT destroy Persepolis. It was the fire he had started that is responsible.

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  2. Chicken Little (741 comments) says:

    Ok, it’s official, I am so jealous now.

    One day.

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  3. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Haha Murray made me laugh.

    On that point as a point of interest not a classical buff but isnt their a hypothosis that the fire was deliberate as revenge for the previous burning of the Acropolis of Athens? Debatable but a theory?

    These pictures are making me so envious / looking forward to the day I get to travel to Turkey / the middle east (not to mention Africa). So much history.

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  4. Sean (301 comments) says:

    O well, not many people got to Angkor Wat during Pol Pot’s time. In retrospect, that may have been a good thing as far as the preservation of the monuments is concerned.

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  5. Razork (375 comments) says:

    David, I just want to say that all of these travel pics and your comments on them are fantastic.
    I am enjoying it very much and now considering a trip that previously I wouldn’t have even imagined for a moment.

    thanks.

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  6. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    I’m concerned. Kiwiblog seems to have turned into a travelogue. Even worse, it is giving me aspirations of travelling to weird and wonderful places, where previously I’d been intending to go to NYC, and then to Spain for my next overseas jaunt. I’ve always said I wasn’t that interested in going further off the beaten track…….but I think I’m changing my mind. Someone should be paying you commission.

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  7. Spoff (275 comments) says:

    it was just a translation issue.

    Y’mean like:

    “Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”

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  8. jks (30 comments) says:

    Is it common in Iran to see women wearing jeans? Overall apart from the hijab Layla’s clothing looks relatively western.

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  9. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Jeff the real problem is that Alexander was simply batshit insane. A genius, but a random one. He might give you a kingdom on a whim or drive a spear through your chest over a drunken argument. Hell he went into Persia with no idea what he was going to do and no idea when he was going to go home. He wrecked the supurb army his father had built and they mutinied twice.

    There’s just no way to say he did or didn’t do something because it was his nature or a rational decision. His nature was chaotic.

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  10. BarbaraB (1 comment) says:

    Persepolis is one of the wonders of the world; its a fantastic place to visit, awesome in the truest sense of the world! I lived in Teheran (partner was working as an architect) for nearly a year in 1975 when the Shah was in power. It was an interesting time indeed and a privilege to have seen the treasures and architecture – the Blue Mosque in Isfahan was the single most inspiring building I have ever seen.

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  11. David Farrar (1,902 comments) says:

    Yes many young women wear jeans.

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  12. maringi (16 comments) says:

    I am so jealous.

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