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.


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.


One of the tombs closer up.


The artwork is well preserved generally.


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.


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


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 Iran, is akin to giving the fingers.


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


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


These were quite common on the site


More artwork survives here, than on most Egyptian sites.


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


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


One of the many palace ruins


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


Up the mountain somewhat, are three tombs.


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.


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.


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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