Persepolis, Ceremonial Capital of the Persian Empire

Those who have been following my Iran trip vlogs must know that I went to Persepolis twice. The first time I went all the way there only to find out it was closed because of a religious holiday. It was rather disappointing at the time but also lead me to read a bit more about Persepolis before the second try. When I finally got to see its magnificence, I felt all the effort was worth.

Persepolis was built around 2,500 years ago (almost 500 years before Christ!) as a ceremonial center for King Darius and his successors. This ancient capital of the Persian Empire, the first great empire in human history, was once known as the richest city under the sun. Despite the passing of so much time, The scale of the castles, halls and gateways is still plain to see.

I took this picture when I did a wasted trip the first time from Shiraz to Persepolis. The weather that day was actually much better than my second visit. Evening before sunset is the best time to visit if it is sunny, you can see all the golden color reflected on the ruins.

Some of the sights in Persepolis have been well preserved, with incredible wall carvings, for example the ‘Gate of All Nations’. When I walked through the enormous statues on the gate, I can still feel the mystic and power surrounding the place. The description on the Gate of all Nations writes:

I am Xerxes, the great king, king of kings. King of the lands of many people, king of this great earth far and wide. By Ahura Mazda’s favor I have made this Gate of All Lands. Much that is beautiful has been built in this region which I and my father have built….”

Me in front of the entrance of the Gate. XD

Stone carved Faravahar in Persepolis. Faravahar is one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, the main religion of pre-Islamic Persia. Today there are only about 25000 Zoroastrians in Iran.

Another Zoroastrian symbol for Nowruz— eternally fighting bull, and a lion. Nowruz represents the Spring in Persian calendar. It falls on 21 March every year, Iranians celebrate it as their new year. Although with the Zoroastrian origin, nowadays it is celebrated by all Iranians regardlessly.

The major palace is known as Apadana. Here you can find the beautiful bas-reliefs of the kings. For example, the above pictures show the details of Mede soldiers in traditional Mede costume. Mede was an ancient Iranian people used to live in northwestern Iran.

You can find many interesting cravings on the wall, each one telling a story of the past. This one depicts the Armenians was bringing their famous wine to the king.

Persepolis Assyrians bringing sheep. Assyrian is an indigenous group in the Middle East.

Ruins of the Tachara, the exclusive building of Darius I at Persepolis.

Hall of Hundred Columns where meetings took place back in time.

On the top is the Artaxerxes Tomb. Normally you can get a wonderful view of Persepolis from there, but when I finished visiting all the cravings, it was already getting dark so I didn’t to there. But make sure you do if you ever go there. 😀

There’s so much to tell and share about Persepolis, for now I will keep my post short like this. If you’re interested in it, make sure you go visit Iran one day. But do have some preparations if you didn’t pay much attention in the history classes at school (like me). Persepolis can be easily visited from Shiraz. It can reached by any tour, taxi or public transport if you hate tours.

By public transport:

Take the 30 minutes minibus ride to Marvdasht, then jump on a taxi, 20 minutes to Persepolis from Marvdasht. Minibuses leave from Karandish Bus Terminal regularly when it gets full.

关于波斯波利斯可以说的太多了,我去了两次,第一次赶上伊斯兰假日,波斯波利斯关门(运气太好,一天就关几天而已)。即使白跑一趟浪费半天,后来再去的时候还是被震撼了,觉得不虚此行。不管你在学历史的时候有没有开小差,或者对历史感不感兴趣,波斯波利斯都很值得一去,我在这里也学到了很多以前不知道的波斯古国文化。

遗址面积非常大,首先看到的是万国门,门上的石雕是人首牛身鹰翼,非常壮观。走在这里可以感受到当年帝王的能力之大。往里走走可以看到Apadana宫殿,我印象最深刻的是墙上那些石雕,每个石雕都很生动,讲述这2500年前的故事,很多是关于拜火教(也叫琐罗亚斯德教)的,拜火教是波斯在伊斯兰化以前的主要宗教,虽然现在信拜火教的少之又少了,在波斯波利斯可以看到拜火教最有名的标志,那个带翅膀披着羽毛的射手法拉瓦哈的雕刻。还有象征波斯新年(每年的春分日)的牛狮争斗图。对拜火教感兴趣的,如果去伊朗不要忘了去Yazd亚兹德看看,那里还保存有拜火教的庙。

这些雕刻很有意思,可以看好久,我还发现了亚美尼亚人带着他们的红酒奉献给帝王的雕刻,伊朗跟亚美尼亚真是关系密切啊。还有很多讲述关于原住民放羊的Assyrian民族和曾住在伊朗西北的Mede人的故事和他们的传统服饰。

Tachara是波斯波利斯遗址里面的八座宫殿中保存最完好的一座,它曾是帝王的寝宫。而旁边的百柱大殿则是残败一篇,几乎看不到完整的柱子了。来波斯波利斯最好的时间是傍晚,尤其天气好的时候,日落的金色映照在遗址上,很壮观,我当时去的有点晚了,所以就没有去山坡上的Artaxerxes三世的墓。从那里俯瞰应该视野很好,一览众山小,如果你们过去一定留足时间去那里看。

关于波斯波利斯,太多故事,一时半会也讲不完。这个帖子就先写到这里吧,有兴趣的下次自己来伊朗玩的时候去看吧,百闻不如一见。

如果不想参加一日团,从设拉子用公共交通过去也很容易:
从Karandish公交站坐小巴去Marvdasht,大概半小时,然后打车过去波斯波利斯20分钟。小巴没有时间表,人满了就走。

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