We visited the ancient city of Persepolis (UNESCO World Heritage Site) on the way to Tehran from Shiraz. The ancient city is located 70 km northeast of Shiraz in the Fars Province.
The construction of Persepolis (the capital of Persia) started in 521 BC and lasted about 150 years. Darius I of Persia (or Darius the Great) and his successors Xerxes I and Artaxerxes left lots of monuments today by expanding and developing the city of Persepolis in order to form a large civilization.
The ancient city was founded on an area of 125,000 square meters. In the entrance of the city is a ceremony area where festivals and various ceremonies were held in the past. The capacity of ceremony hall, known as “Apadana Hall”, was 10,000 even in those years.
The ancient city includes many statues on column plinths depicting the religious beliefs of Persians.
In addition to the ceremony hall, the Throne Hall, the Apadana Palace of Darius the Great, the Hall of a Hundred Columns, the Imperial Treasury and the ruins of tombs are absolutely well-worth visiting.
The king palaces in Persepolis were situated on an artificial hill that was 473 meters in length, 86 meters in width and 13 meters in height. This hill could be reached by two large stairs. The embossed statues on the side of stairways are very impressive.
Persepolis was abandoned after Alexander the Great defeated the Persians and destroyed the city in 331 BC.
After visiting the ancient city, we enjoyed some ice cream with ginger and saffron in order to have a rest.
As Turkish people, we attracted a great attention of the local people. They are not accustomed to seeing foreign tourists and they wonder and admire Turkey very much because of the Turkish television series.
After having the ice creams, we headed to the ancient necropolis known as Naqsh-e Rustam that is located 8-10 km from Persepolis. The necropolis includes Persian kings’ tombs carved out of the rock face.
In Naqsh-e Rustam we visited the tombs of four Achaemenid kings. The tombs are believed to be those of Darius the Great, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes and Darius II.
The tomb of Darius the Great is much more impressive than the others. In front of the tomb of Darius I is a relief of sun symbolizing the independence.
After visiting the necropolis, we headed towards the city of Shiraz.