More than 2500 years ago, Cyrus the Great established a dynasty that today constitutes a significant part of Persia’s glorious history. The Achaemenid Empire was Persia’s first great empire that based its capitals near present-day Shiraz. At its greatest, the empire spanned from Eastern Europe in the west to the Indus Valley in the east. This indicates the historical importance of the region Shiraz is located in. A visit Shiraz and its surrounding sights including world-famous Persepolis and Pasargadae gives you an insight into the ancient empire.
Pasargadae and Persepolis are the Greek names for the Achaemenid cities; Iranians call them Takht-e Jamshid and Pasargad respectively. You will need to rent a car or join a tour to visit the sites. Persepolis lies within a one-hour drive from Shiraz while it takes two hours to reach Pasargadae by car. These ancient complexes host palaces, great halls, reliefs, columns, motifs and much more. If you’re curious and observant, you’ll notice common symbols and architectural styles in different sites. Don’t hesitate to ask the site’s guides because there’s a lot to discover.
The Final Resting Place of Kings
All humans eventually meet their deaths, even the greatest kings, but it’s what happens before and after that separates us. Lifeless bodies almost always receive a grand goodbye in the case of royalty. When travelling to Shiraz, if you keep in mind that two of the greatest Persian empires were situated in the region, it shouldn’t surprise you that their kings’ tombs are nearby.
Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab are where the kings of the Achaemenid and Sassanid dynasties lie. They are in the Marvdasht Valley which is also home to Persepolis and Pasargadae. Though they were hundreds of years apart, both dynasties marked an important era in Persian history where the Persian Empire was a superpower. Now, each necropolis houses several kings along with inscriptions and reliefs that tell their tale. What’s amazing is that these tombs were carved into the side of mountains at heights out of the reach of normal men.