The bus ride this morning was uneventful as far as scenery – just dessert. We didn’t pass any little towns like when we were in Ethiopia. Nadereh spent a lot of time talking to us about various religious beliefs of the past and some information about Persepolis. It was not easy for me to follow. It did stand out for me when Nadereh told us that Achaemenid Dynasty and Darius I. accepted all religious beliefs.
When we arrived at Persepolis, there was a group of Iranian people on the stairs having their photo taken. Several of them asked where we were from and were so friendly. I should have taken a photo of the group.
Persepolis literally means City of the Persian. It was was also known as Takht-é Jamshid (literally the Thrown of Jamshid). It was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE) since the time of Sassanid Empire, 224-651 AD and was once one of the greatest architectural wonders of the ancient world. It was a treasure city and one of the richest in the world.
Darius the Great founded Persepolis, and made it his capital in 518 BCE. André Godard, the French archeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I who built the terrace and the palaces.
When Alexander the Great conquered Persepolis in 330 BCE, he took possession of 2,500 tons of gold and silver in addition to other fabulous assets. There are many stories about why Alexander burned the royal palace including that it was revenge for the Persian destruction of Athens a century earlier. Nevertheless, the jewel of Persia went up in flames. Enough remains so that we can imagine its original splendor. I had read about this amazing site, but was not prepared for how impressed I was as we walked through the remains of the Gate of All Nations and explored the site.
We spent a long time walking around Persepolis as Nadereh gave us information about each of the areas. Persepolis was truly an amazing site to visit. I must have taken 100 of them. Some of these photos are ones that I took and some from better photographers taken from the web.
We came across something interesting as we were photographing the bas-reliefs. We saw workers from the UNESCO World Heritage doing repairs. It was fascinating to watch them.
After our long visit to Persepolis, we had a late lunch at what Sami called a touristy restaurant because it was close to our next destination. It was buffet style. Many people tried the Iranian non-alcoholic flavored beer but I don’t think anybody liked it.
After lunch we went to Naqsh-e Rustam, the ancient necropolis where four Achaemenid kings are buried in monumental graves carved out of the rock. The tombs belong to belong Darius I (c. 522-486 BC), Xerxes I (c. 486-465 BC), Artaxerxes I (c. 465-424 BC), and Darius II (c. 423-404 BC). Nadereh gave us information about the rock reliefs and their meaning. The tombs are at a considerable height above the ground. They are sometimes known as the Persian crosses, after the shape of the facades of the tombs. The entrance to each tomb is at the center of each cross, which opens onto a small chamber, where the king lay in a sarcophagus. The horizontal beam of each of the tomb’s facades is believed to be a replica of a Persepolitan entrance.
The first photograph is from the web. The rock reliefs are different on each tomb so I took a photos several. Seeing how small Nedereh looks in these photos shows just how huge they were.
When we arrived back at the hotel, I immediately went to the spa for a ½ hour massage and hot tub. It was wonderful. Jane had a massage following mine. We each paid $10.
Dinner was at an Italian restaurant in the hotel.
After dinner we went up the single elevators in the hotel to the panoramic restaurant which was on the top floor. The restaurant was more like a pub that served hamburgers, etc. This elevator was only open in the evening and we wondered about the ?? where the floor number should have been.
This was quite a day.