Exploring Persepolis: Astonishing Archaeological Marvels

Learn about the magnificent palaces of Persepolis

Persepolis or Takht-e Jamshid, located in the beautiful city of Shiraz, is a precious heritage of the Achaemenid era in Iran, covering an area of ​​​​about 125,000 square meters. When exploring the site, one can witness the grandeur and archaeological marvels in its extraordinary architecture, including inscriptions, reliefs, palaces, and ancient artifacts.
Takht-e Jamshid, built by Darius the Great, was formerly known as “Persepolis” or “Perse-polis”, which means “city of the Persians”. This name reflects the settlement of the Persian race in this city during the Achaemenid dynasty.

The Ancient City Of Persepolis

It should be noted that an important part of this magnificent cultural monument was destroyed by fire after Alexander’s invasion of Iran, which resulted in the destruction of much of this magnificent complex. However, Persepolis or Takht-e Jamshid remains one of Iran’s most famous historical sites, attracting thousands of domestic and international visitors each year. In addition, this ancient building has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1979.

The Architectural Wonders of Persepolis

Considering that this structure dates back 2,500 years, adherence to architectural principles is one of its wonders. Here are some brief points about its architectural features. An important aspect of the city’s architecture was the separation of the residential quarters from the royal quarters, including the citadels, neighborhoods, and exteriors.

Achaemenid Soldiers, Persepolis
Achaemenid Soldiers

Another architectural wonder of Persepolis is the presence of wooden columns with stone tops, which significantly support the weight of palace-like structures such as the Apadana. It should be recalled that these columns were built according to the golden ratio principle and assembled inside with molten lead, making them able to withstand the fires and many earthquakes that occurred in Persepolis.
Another interesting aspect of Achaemenid architecture is the presence of short brick and clay gutters with asphalt lining on the ceilings and between the walls, open channels and stone wells. Interestingly, the Persepolis water and wastewater system is designed so that rainwater is directed from the gutters on the road to specific roads where water is needed.

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Archaeological Marvels in the ancient palaces and Ruins of Persepolis

The magnificent palaces of Persepolis, built over time by various Achaemenid kings, are considered as one of the most prominent cultural heritages in Iran. In the following, we will introduce and explain more about the distinctive features, architecture and archaeological marvels of the important palaces and structures of Persepolis.

The Gate of All Nations

The first building that catches your attention after going through the entrance stairs is the Gate of All Nations. It is thought that this was the entrance that allowed representatives of different countries to enter the palace of the kings of Iran. This stone structure consists of three doors. At the west entrance of this gate are statues of two winged bulls called Sphinx (a combination of cow body and bird with human head).

Gate Of All Nations, Persepolis
The Gate Of All Nations Located At The Entrance Of Persepolis

Hundred Pillar Palace or Throne Room

 The Palace of the Hundred Pillars or Hall of the Throne is the second largest palace in the Persepolis complex. It got its name from the presence of 100 stone columns arranged in a grid of 10rows by 10 columns. On the entrance door of the Palace of the Hundred Pillars, one can also observe the engravings of 100 Achaemenid soldiers. It is said that this palace was once the throne room of King Xerxes.

Xerxes Palace or Hadish Palace

This magnificent palace has the finest stone carvings in Persepolis, including a hall with 36 wooden columns and a porch with 12 columns. Inscriptions in Elamite, Ancient Persian and Babylonian can be found in this palace.

Apadana Palace

The tallest and most magnificent structure in Persepolis is the Palace of Apadana or the Palace of Darius. It is worth mentioning that this palace was built over a period of 30 years and has a 20m high roof, supported by 36 stone columns. To enter the palace complex, one must climb a large staircase decorated with intricate reliefs depicting offerings brought by messengers of various countries, such as horses, sheep, weapons and perfume boxes.

Apadana Palace, Persepolis
Apadana Palace, Persepolis

Inside the palace, there is a hall, where important sculptures of eight Medes and Persian soldiers can be seen, as well as representations of Farvahar, Ahura Mazda, and mythical creatures between blue lily flowers.

Tachara Palace

This palace belonged to Darius I of the Achaemenid Empire and is one of the oldest palaces in Persepolis. It is the only building facing south and is used even in winter. It is for this reason that it is called Tachara or “winter house”.

Tachara Palace, Persepolis
Tachara Palace

The polished stones of this palace have an inscription with the theme “in praise of Ahura Mazda and the scope of his reign”. These polished stones have earned Tachara Palace the nickname “Hall of Mirrors”.

Council Palace

The Council Palace or Central Hall was the place for the Shah to discuss and consult with high officials or the meeting place of military councils. In this palace, two columns with human heads are also present as symbols of contemplation.

Haramsara Complex (Residence of the wives of the monarch)

This complex, also known as the Palace of Xerxes, was built with corridors and rooms large and small and now houses the Persepolis Museum. The Persepolis Museum consists of three parts:
The Prehistoric Hall, the Achaemenid Hall and the Islamic Hall each display artifacts from their respective periods.

It is worth mentioning that three important and magnificent ancient monuments named Naqsh-e Rostam, Naqsh-e Rajab and Pasargadae are all located around this ancient site. You can also visit these areas with their striking and beautifully carved reliefs during your trip.

Naqsh-E Rostam
Naqsh-E Rostam, Fars Province

For more information, it should be noted that the Pasargadae complex itself includes ancient structures such as the Tomb of Cyrus, the Royal Garden of Pasargadae, the Gate Palace, the Tomb of Cambyses, and more. It is worth mentioning that Pasargadae is also the fifth site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Iran.
 It is important to note that the best time to travel to Shiraz and visit this ancient site is the second half of the year as Takht-e Jamshid is an outdoor site and visiting in the hot season can be difficult. We hope to have provided enough relevant information to introduce this ancient cultural relic. We look forward to your visit to Iran.

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Zeinab Khadivi

Hello, I'm Zizi Khadiv. I love traveling and socializing with people, and I really enjoy introducing the beauties of my country and the hospitable people of Iran to people from other countries. That's why I love being a tour guide.

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