Persepolis is one of the unique monuments that one visit may once have impressed you with its grandeur. If you are traveling to Shiraz, be sure to visit this monument and its various parts to explore the rich history of the Achaemenid empire. Persepolis is one of the largest monuments in Iran, attracting many visitors from around the world every year. This monument is the name of one of the great ancient cities of Iran constructing by a man naming Dariush the Great. The building is located in Marvdasht Fars province. Numerous Achaemenid kings, including Khashayar Shah and Ardashir I, ruled and expanded the city. It was for many years the capital of the Achaemenid Empire.
In 518 BC, the construction of Persepolis as the new Achaemenid capital began in Parseh. The founder of Persepolis was Darius the Great, but after him, his son Khashayarshah and his grandson Ardeshir I were expanding the collection. Much of the knowledge available about the Achaemenid history and culture is due to inscriptions and metal inscriptions engraved on these palaces and on walls and tablets. Historians believe that Alexander the Great, the Greek commander, invaded Iran in 330 BC and set fire to Persepolis, possibly destroying much of the Achaemenid inscriptions, culture, and art. However, the ruins of the site are still standing, and archaeologists have confirmed signs of fire and invasion. This place considered one of Iran’s registered UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979.
History of Persepolis
Persepolis, a mirror of Iran’s ancient history and culture of the earth, founded by Darius the Great in 518 BC, with an area of 125,000 square meters, as one of the architectural masterpieces of his time worldwide. It is also one of the most spectacular places in Shiraz. Persepolis in fact is the culmination of the delicacy and creativity of Iranian artists in applying the cultures of various peoples such as Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Medes, and Armenians who were under the control and command of the Achaemenids. Darius’s purpose in building this was to build a capital in his empire that he did not have, and to do so, he chose the vast plain of Marvdasht with ancient history.
The reason why Persepolis was named Persepolis by Perseus was the Persian people, who were led by the Achaemenids. They called their residence Pars, where the Greeks called it Persis, and today we call it Fars. In the inscription that remains of Xerxes on the Gates of the Gate of the United Nations, and according to some Elamite tablets, the original name of Persepolis is mentioning as “Parseh”. It is said that during the Sassanid era the building was called a hundred columns and in the Islamic era it was called “forty columns”, “forty minarets” and “throne of Prophet Solomon”, but later because the people did not know the creator of this collection, Jamshid, the ancient king, is associated with the name “Persepolis”.
Persepolis in Shiraz is located on a plate that covers about 125,000 square meters. Persepolis is located 57 meters from Shiraz and is closer to Marvdasht. Most recognize this monument because of its skylights and prominent paintings depicting the history and culture of past dynasties. Visiting every part of the city of 125,000 square meters can hold a story of history in its heart. Inscriptions, columns, wall drawings, etc. each tell a story and have something to say.
As we mentioned, Persepolis is closer to Marvdasht than Shiraz. The monument is located 57 kilometers from Shiraz and 10 kilometers from Marvdasht. The Persepolis monument is located near the northern part of Marvdasht city and on the plain of this city. The original name of Marvdasht plain means khoram plain. Persepolis lies on a rock that is about 1770 meters above sea level.
Near Marvdasht there is a mountain called Rahmat Mountain which was of great importance to the ancient Iranians so that even in parts of Persepolis there are signs of sanctity. This monument is located right on the cliff of Mount Rahmat Mountains. In the past, the mountain of mercy called Mount Mehr or Mount Mitra. The eastern part of the palace lies on Mount Rahmat and other parts of the plain of Marvdasht. The height of the rock on which Persepolis lies is 18 meters from the plain of Marvdasht.
Palace’s Different Parts
Persepolis in Shiraz has a variety of parts ranging from palaces to numerous pillars, each with something to say. They usually start from the northwest corner to introduce this monument. At the start of this section, there is an entrance that can be accessible by the Gate House of All Nations by approaching the 111 stairs. You can then visit the Apadana, Thatcher, and Hedish palaces. Further northeast, the route would reach the Three Gate Palace, a harem, a museum, and a semi-finished gate which have a very productive history. In general, this monument has different parts, each of which is a narrative of history.
At the entrance to Persepolis, there is a two-way staircase locating on the west side of the building at the time of the scratch. Each side of this staircase has 111 stairs, which are considering to be great masterpieces of ancient architecture because of their symmetry. After 63 stairs, we reach a staircase and then another 48 stairs in the opposite direction. Each stair is 6.90 meters long, 38 cm wide, and 10 cm wide. The stairs around the staircase also remarkably decorated with the support of quadruple congresses.
Gate of All Nations
Passing through the entrance stairs, you will reach the magnificent Gate of Nations or the Gate of Xerxes, which is famous worldwide for its unique appearance. Each side of this square hall is 24.75 meters long and has an area of 612.5 square meters. In the middle of the hall there were four columns, with three columns remaining. The height of each column is more than 16.5 meters and the height of each of the eastern and western ports is 10 meters and its width is 3.82 meters.
One of the most beautiful palaces in Persepolis is the Apadana Palace, with its amazing and stunning columns and stairs. The construction of the Apadana Palace began during the time of Darius the Great and ended after 30 years under the rule of Xerxes. The building formerly had a central hall, three porches to the north, west, and east, four towers on the outer four corners of the hall and several guardrooms. The central hall was more than 3,600 square meters with 6 rows on each side and a total of 36 columns. There were 12 columns in each of the three porches. Unfortunately, of the 72 columns in the palace, only 14 remain.
On the west side of the G Palace, where little remains, are remnants of a tall building locating on the rock of the mountain. On the south wall of the building, there are pictures of soldiers and crew-carrying food and dishes taken south of Darius Palace. The two-way stairway to the southeast of the palace also led to the eastern courtyard of Hedish Palace.
Darius Private Palace
The Thatcher Palace or the Daryush Palace, located southwest of the Apadana Palace, is one of the earliest buildings of Persepolis. The word Thatcher or “Taur” in ancient Persian meant winter home, though no evidence is available to prove that the palace was Darius’s winter residence. The palace is about 30 meters wide and 40 meters long. The central hall, also known as the Mirror Hall, has 12 columns in three rows of four.
The central palace of Persepolis, which extends over 250,000 square meters, is connecting to three adjacent palaces by three porches and aisles. Construction of this building begins at the time of Xerxes and finally at the time of Ardashir III. In the center of the hall, there is a stone measuring 75 by 71 centimeters, with a hole dug in the middle of what is familiar to be the site of calendar extraction and the preservation of time, day, and month.
The H Palace is actually opposite the Hedish Palace. Its stairs, which feature two groups of 16-person Persian spears as well as scrolls in ancient Persian, have been nearly destroyed. This staircase is referring not to belong to this place and laterly installed there.
Hedish Palace is located on the eastern side of Ardashir Dedicated Palace and southeast of the Thatcher Palace. Hedish’s name is taken from an inscription on its north porch: “He says that King Khashayarshah, the Great King, made this gift for Ahuramazda’s“. Some believe that Hedish was the name of Khashayar’s wife and that is why he put his name on the palace. The palace has an area of about 2550 square meters. There are 6 rows of 6-columns, a 12-pillar veranda to the north, a spacious veranda to the south, and a number of rooms in the eastern and western part of its central hall. An image of Khashayarshah with a flat crest and an uncrowned conglomerate was painted on it, with inscriptions in ancient Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian above it. Unfortunately, the palace suffered many injuries in the fire.
The Achaemenid Museum
The Achaemenid Museum building is one of the oldest buildings in Iran dedicated to the museum after reconstruction. The museum is open at certain times of the day, displaying some of the findings of Persepolis excavations. The colors on the walls of the museum, according to historians, come from the yellow and reds used in the Persepolis collection that have disappeared over time.
The unfinished gate is one of the most valuable monuments of Persepolis, and as its name implies, it remains half-functioning. This gate was like the Gate of Nations, with the two rooms on the eastern and western fronts. It is supposing to be the guard’s residence. The gate was supposed to be made in the form of a winged cow that was left unfinished by Alexander’s attack.
Bedroom or hundred columns
A Hundred Columns Palace is actually the second-largest Persepolis palace. It has been called the Hundred Columns because of its 100 columns in the central hall. It has an area of more than 4,600 square meters and a height of about 14 meters. For this reason, they have been dubbed “the world’s largest indoor hall”. According to Professor Hertzfeld’s, the construction of this huge hall began within the Xerxes era and ended the Ardashir era.
The treasury section was built southeast of Persepolis and east of the harem. The building was built by Darius the Great, and the time of Xerxes ended with changes. The treasury is about 10,390 square meters. It includes a hall with 99 columns, another hall with 100 columns, and an open courtyard. Professor Schmidt found about 750 clay tablets in the area. Those tablets are reflecting the wonders of the Achaemenid era. Just like information on the Elamite script and language about workers, employers.
The great monument to the south of Persepolis is likely to be the Khashayarsha Harem. This part of the complex is now using as the Persepolis Museum. Due to the thick walls and only one main entrance and exit door, the palace is truly a harem.
Facilities of Persepolis
This monument offers various possibilities for tourists to use. The most important of these amenities include cafes, restaurants, bathrooms, parking, shops and more.
The best time to Visit Persepolis
Persepolis complex is locating in a dry area. So summer days are not a good time to see Persepolis. So we suggest visiting here in early fall and early spring. Another important thing to keep in mind is that visiting Persepolis will be harder on rainy and snowy days.
Access to Persepolis
You have a straight and direct way to get to Persepolis. If you go by car you have to enter Marvdasht Road and reach Persepolis after 50 km. Road signs help you easily. If you do not have your own car, you can reach there by bus from Marvdasht. Buses are available by Karandish terminal in Shiraz. After arriving at Persepolis, you should take a short walk of 5 minutes to reach the entrance gate. Then you will enter the paved area after purchasing a ticket.