Persepolis or Takht-e Jamshid (literally the ‘Throne of Jamshid’) is undoubtedly one of Iran’s most significant tourist attractions. It was the magnificent capital of the Achaemenid Empire. The ancient site still bears witness to the glory and grandeur of the mighty Persian dynasty. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people from across the world visit Persepolis. The city once made Greeks green with envy due to its wealth and riches.
The fourth Persian king of the Achaemenid Empire, Darius I ordered the construction of Persepolis in 518 BCE. He then moved his capital from Pasargadae to Persepolis and turned it into the most splendid and prosperous city in his empire. The city expanded and flourished during the reign of the succeeding Achaemenid kings. However, the city’s splendor did not last long. Alexander the Great raided, looted and burned Persepolis in 331-330 BCE. This is how famous Greek historian Diodorus Siculus describes the destruction of the city at the hands of Alexander:
“It was the wealthiest city under the sun and the private houses had been filled for a long time with riches of every kind. The Macedonians rushed into it, killing all the men and plundering the houses, which were numerous and full of furniture and precious objects of every kind. Here much silver was carried off and no little gold, and many expensive dresses, embroidered with purple or with gold, fell as prizes to the victors.”
UNESCO recognized Persepolis as a world heritage site in 1979. Today, you can see remains of the city’s magnificent palaces, reliefs, petroglyphs, halls, columns, sculptures and inscriptions.
In the heart of the city, there was the royal palace complex. The remains of the palace complex still stand proudly after 2500 years. There is much to explore at Persepolis. A grand stairway leads to the Gate of All Nations, the Apadana Palace, the Darius’ Palace (Tachara), the Xerxes’ Palace (Hadish) and the Artaxerxes’ Palace. They all face the Hundred Column Palace, the Tripylon, and the Treasury.
You can also visit the Persepolis Museum on the site. It displays a valuable collection of ceramics, carvings, cloths and coins discovered in Persepolis and a neighboring city. Artifacts and sculpture from Persepolis are also on display in major museums around the globe including the British Museum in London, the Oriental Institute in Chicago, the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and also the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.
With all this in mind, you probably won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to visit Persepolis. The site lies at the foot of Mount Rahmat in the Marvdasht plain, some 70 kilometers northeast of Shiraz.