Among the ruins of Persepolis

Saturday 8 November

Persepolis is a little north of Shiraz, and we stopped there on the road to Esfahan.

Persepolis is a rich historic site of broken columns and cracked statues.  It rates with Ephesus in Turkey and the Acropolis in Athens.

Ironically its destruction is believed to have been at the hands of Alexander the Great.  It is thought that this was in revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of Athens during the Second Persian invasion of Greece.

Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC), moved his capital from Pasargadae to Persepolis (meaning “city of the Persions”) which was built as the ceremonial capital of the empire.

The empire was vast, under Cyrus’s rule it extended approximately from Turkey, Israel, Georgia and Arabia in the west to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Indus River (Pakistan) and Oman in the east. Persia became the largest empire the world had yet seen.

Darius the Great, a later successor of Cyrus also added enormously to Persepolis.  He extended his rule to the eastern Balkans and north east Africa, controlling the largest Persian empire in history.

Much of the carvings we saw at Persepolis show the races of people under his jurisdiction. Darius created a universal currency, a postal system and built a Royal Road to join his empires. He introduced taxes to fund projects like irrigation and construction of canals.

Darius’ son Xerxes the Great succeeded him and continued the development of Persepolis. He oversaw the building of the Gate of All Nations and the Hall of a Hundred Columns as well as completing projects Darius had started.  He also built himself a bigger, better palace.

Many of the Achaemenian kings were buried at the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam.  Their tombs are carved out of rock a considerable height above the ground and would have taken years to prepare.  It is believed that the major tombs belong to Darius I the Great (c. 522-486 BC), Xerxes I (c. 486-465 BC), Artaxerxes I (c. 465-424 BC), and Darius II (c. 423-404 BC)

Links in this page are from Wikipedia.

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