PERSEPOLIS (TAKHT-E JAMSHID)
Everyone who travels to Iran must visit Persepolis, the center of the great Persian Empire and ceremonial capital of the Achaemenians. It is located in Fars province, 60Km northeast of Shiraz. Persepolis (Capital of Persia in Greek) or Takht-e Jamshid (The Throne of Jamshid) became summer capital of Achaemenian after Pasargadae. The construction of this impressive palace started by Darius I, one of Cyrus's successors, in about 518 BC. It was completed over a period of 150 years by subsequent kings Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I. It was burned down during Alexander the Great occupation in 331 BC. Historians debate whether was accidental or intentional retaliation. The entire complex was built atop a lofty terrace reached by a double stairway that led to the monumental Gate of Xerxes. The terrace is about 1,475 ft long by 985 ft wide, and about 25-60 ft high. To the south, across a vast open space, was the huge Apadana, or Audience Hall of Darius; east of the Audience Hall rose the massive Throne Hall—called by early archaeologists the Hall of One Hundred Columns—which was begun by Xerxes and completed by Artaxerxes. Many other structures lay to the south of these main buildings, including the palaces of Darius and Xerxes and the royal treasury.
When you enter the area, you go up the stairs. There are 106 steps about 23 ft wide. At the top of the stairs the first thing you see is Xerxes Gateway with three separate doors and a hallway. The remaining doors are covered with inscriptions and carvings in ancient languages. To the east you can see the double headed eagles.
To the south of gateway, look for the Apadana Palace (audience hall) where kings received visitors and celebrated Noruz (the Persian New Year). Persepolis was occupied only on great occasions of national importance. There are almost no signs of daily wear.
Persepolis was used as a setting for an invocation by the whole nation, led by the divinely invested King, by the grace of the Great God Ahura-Mazda, overcame all enemies and established a world empire which was planned to bring peace, order and prosperity into a chaotic world. Darius declared, "I am one who loves righteousness and hates iniquity... It is not my will that the storng should oppress the weak... God's plan for the earth is not turmoil but peace, prosperity and good government." And for a while this part of the world enjoyed such.
The Court of Apadana was made from material from nearby mountains.
The Central Hall was supported by 36 stone columns, each 20m high (60').
Double headed bulls that decorate stairways each represent ancient nationalities. Look for Darius Palace, behind Central Hall connected by stairway.