Persepolis is located 70km from Shiraz and was the ceremonial capital of the Archaemenid Empire circa 515 BC. Persepolis means city of Persians and its construction began during the rule of Darius the Great. Archaeological evidence shows that Cyrus the Great chose the site of Persepolis and according to ancient tablets found at Persepolis, Darius planned for an impressive complex of palaces for government administration and cultural centre of the Archaemenian kings and their empires. Darius lived long enough to see only a small part of his plans materialised but the rest of his grandiose plans were executed by his son Xerxes I.
Persepolis was claimed to be the richest city on earth. Its treasury held vast stocks of gold, silver, ivory and precious stones. Sadly, the splendour of Persepolis was short-lived when its palaces were looted and burned by Alexander the Great in 331-330 BC. It was said that the treasury of Persepolis was looted and carried away on 20,000 mules and 5,000 camels.
The ruins of Persepolis were laid buried until it was discovered and excavated in the 1930s.
Bas reliefs in Persepolis
Necropolis or Naqsh-e-Rostam is another ancient site, 12 kms from Persepolis. It is the site where 5 tombs of kings were carved into the side of the mountain. The tombs belonged to the Achaemenian Kings: Darius 1, 2, and 3, King Artaxerxes and King Xerxes. The tombs were looted following the conquest of the Archaemenian empire by Alexander the Great.
After walking around these ancient ruins, we left Shiraz for the second leg of our journey – to the city of Esfahan 🙂