Persepolis (Persepolis, Parse)

Persepolis (Persepolis)

Takht-e Jamshid ("Throne of Jamshid"), is the famous name of the most impressive architectural work of the Achaemenid located in the city of Marvdasht, Fārs region. The area of ​​Takht-e Jamshid that in the West is called Persepolis, "City of the Persians", in the period of the Achaemenids was called Pārse.
Later this place assumed names like Cento Colonne, Quaranta Colonne, Quaranta Minareti, and Takht-e Jamshid. Even the Sassanid kings have left inscriptions here in the Tachara palace. After the advent of Islam in Iran this place was considered with some respect; it was called A Thousand Columns or Quaranta Minareti and linked to characters like Soleiman Nabi and Jamshid.
Azadouleh Deilami to Takht-e Jamshid left two inscriptions in Cufic characters. Here there are also other epigraphs, both in Arabic and in Persian, and the most recent dates back to the qajaro period. This was written by the will of Mozaffar Al-Din Shah Qajar and is located in the north wall of the Tachara palace.
Takht-e Jamshid was built at the foot of Mount Rahmat, is a multilateral structure whose surface is more or less equal to 125 000 square meters and whose construction began around the year 518 a. C by the will of Darius the Great and continued until almost 450 a. C. in the period of Ardeshir I (Artaxerxes I).
The materials used in the construction are: large bricks in clay and enamelled bricks, mortar based on bitumen, coating of colored stucco used to cover the floor or decorate the wooden columns, the wood for the pylons, the doors and the small columns, stone or black and white marble-effect lime.
Scaffolding, pulleys and human resources were used to lift the stones. To put the stones together the mortar was not used but rather they were joined with metal hooks.

Apadana Palace

Above the terrace of Takht-e Jamshid, in addition to buildings of resistance and defense, it was gradually planned to build the Apadana palace, the Council Hall, the palace of Darius I and the main treasury.
The Apadana palace was not completed during the life of Darius and Xerxes, his son and successor, completed his father's work. Even the construction of the exclusive palace of Darius (Tachara) began with him and Xerxes ended it.
In addition to this he laid the foundations of the building of the Porta delle Nazioni, his exclusive palace and his harem, he changed the treasury plant and built the building of the Hundred Columns or Sala del Trono. Not considering a part of the tower buildings, the defensive bastion and the residence of the garrison that were located in the row of fortifications, perhaps the main treasury was the first building at the time of Darius to be finished on Takht-e Jamshid's terrace. The work after a long pause resumed at the time of Artaxerxes III.
In the excavations at Takht-e Jamshid were found some thousands of clay tablets with texts in Elamite cuneiform characters written during the reign of Darius the Great whose dating goes from 509 to 494 d. C.
This collection is a small part of the actual Achaemenid administrative archives. The tablets were kept raw but when Alexander in the year 330 BC, after the conquest of Takht-e Jamshid, burnt the complex of buildings, while an unknown number of tablets disappeared forever, accidentally a part of them were cooked by fire and they remained.
Their rereading, in addition to the fact that the archaeological findings completed the knowledge on how the Takht-e Jamshid complex was built, showed that in the construction of this impressive complex workers and artists were used that in the face of their work and their art , received a salary and enjoyed holidays, food rations and a sort of social insurance.

The staircase

The entrance stairway which is still the official way to enter the site, was built by Xerxes. Some attribute the cause of the poor rise of the steps to the fact that people on horseback could easily climb, some experts instead consider this fact contrary to the customs of the court and the cause of the breadth and the poor rise of the staircase see it as an opportunity that gave way to a large number of Achaemenid dignitaries to climb the stairs in dialogue.
After passing the entrance stairs there was a small palace called "Porta delle Nazioni" because the representatives of all Iranian ethnic groups entered it and then headed towards the court buildings.
On either side of the entrance threshold were two bull-shaped statues and at the exit threshold two more with wings and human head symbolizing the union of human thought, the ambition of the eagle and the blessing and power of the bull .
Although it is possible that the original foundations of this building had Darius thrown to them, yet Xerxes completed the work. The Apadana or Palace of Darius and Xerxes, is the most exemplary, magnificent and extensive construction of Takht-e Jamshid which includes: a square-shaped hall with 36 columns and three arcades, each with 12 columns and four towers in the four outer corners of the salon and a series of surveillance rooms. Two staircases on both sides allowed access to this building.
The walls of these were decorated with drawings and marvelous inscriptions. Of the 72 columns that once held the roof of the Apadana and its arcades, today only 14 remain. The construction of the Apadana began in the year 519 BC by the will of Darius the Great and after thirty years of work ended in the period of reign of Xerxes.

Takht-e Jamshid

In this palace four golden and pure silver tablets have been found and each of them is engraved with a text in three languages, ancient Persian, elamite and Akkadian in cuneiform writing whose translation is: "King Darius, the great king King of kings, king of these lands, son of Istaspe the Achaemenid, King Darius says: "This is the kingdom that I possess from the Scythians who are on the other side of Sogdiana up to Ethiopia, to India and until to Sardis that Ahuramazda, the greatest God, has given me. Ahuramazda protect me and my royal family! "
The most important peculiarity of the porticos east and north of the Apadana are their stairways. Each is long 81 meters. The north stairway after the fire and destruction of Takht-e Jamshid, had remained out of the earth and although it attracted the attention of the site's visitors, in particular the European tourists of past centuries, however it was influenced by the atmospheric factors and from the numerous historical damages.
The bas-reliefs of the eastern staircase instead up to the year 1932 have remained buried under the ground so they have been protected from damage and even today they are well preserved. The bas-reliefs are symmetrical images carved on the wall of the northern portico that present various peoples such as: 1. Medi, 2. Susiani, 3. Armeni, 4. Ariani, 5. Babylonians, 6. Lidiani, 7. Arachosians of Afghanistan, 8. Assyrians of Mesopotamia, 9. Cappadoci, 10. Egyptians, 11. Sciti, 12.Ioni, 13. Parts, 14. Gandhari from the Kabul valley, 15. Battriani (the ancient inhabitants of Khorasan), 16.Sagarti (next to the Medi), 17. Sogdiani, 18. Indians, 19. Traci, 20. Arabs (from Jordan and Palestine), 21. Drangiani (the ancient inhabitants of Sistan), 22. Libici, 23. Ethiopians.
Under the bas-reliefs of the 19, 20, 21, and 22 groups and on a triangular part that derives from the descent of the stairway, the bas-relief of the lion is repeated, biting the bull and the palm trees. In it a lion jumps on the back of a bull and bites him, this is a recurring image in the bas-reliefs of Takht-e Jamshid.
The researchers, analyzing this image, have provided different interpretations of which one is associated with the celebration of the Persian New Year the Nouruz or "national and royal festival" that was habitual since ancient times and still exists today.
On the right of this bas-relief there is a stone engraving of Serse in characters and in ancient Persian. The palace of Dario, south-west of the Abadana, is one of the first buildings built on the terrace of Takht-e Jamshid and in one of the inscriptions it is called the Tachara palace.

Tachara Palace

This was built on a higher floor than the floor of the Aptana and its adjacent courtyard and has 12 columns. The entrances of this room are decorated with bas-reliefs by King Darius and his dignitaries and above the king's head a trilingual inscription was engraved and in three scriptures, Elamita, Persian ancient and Akkadian saying: "Darius the great king, the king of kings, the king of the peoples, son of Istaspe, the Achaemenid who made Tachara ".
In this building there are also other bas-reliefs showing servants while carrying animals and crockery with food. The walls of the building are very bright and this has meant that it was also called the hall of mirrors.
Experts are convinced that, since this building was among those few structures that after the destruction of Takht-e Jamshid was still evident, on its walls were inscriptions inscribed by Shapur II sasanide and Azadaldouleh Deilami.
Here there are also epigraphs in ancient Persian that testify the completion of the building at the time of Xerxes and additions to the era of Artaxerxes III. It is also believed that to the south of the palace of Darius there was a garden.

Palace "G"

An empty space east of Dario's palace the size of 52 × 32 meters has been called "G" palace. This building, of which very little remains today, was probably built at the time of Xerxes and Artaxerxes I.
It is believed that this was a religious building and a temple and some are also convinced that this part was a garden or another room for receptions or a private palace.

The "H" Palace

The building "H" is a building that was located in the southwest corner of the terrace and below the palace of Darius. This was built with materials to be reused and for this reason its construction is attributed to Artaxerxes III or even to the post-Achaemenid period. However, the new research shows that this building belonged to Artaxerxes I, on the façade of the entrance we find his inscriptions.
Based on the presence of these it is clear that the staircase of Artaxerxes III after the Achaemenid period from the building "G" was transferred to the building "H".
The private palace of Xerxes that in the inscriptions of the northern portico is called "Hadish", is located in the south section of the terrace of Takht-e Jamshid and east of the building "H". This was almost 18 meters tall and its area is twice that of Dario's palace.

Palace "D"

The central hall was built as a square-shaped building with six rows of six columns. In the threshold of the entrance there is the image of Xerxes with the servants who hold the royal parasol, the towel and the fly swatter and on the threshold of the small rooms around, the image of the special servants of the court with the hearth, the perfume holder and the towel in his hand and the corners of the folds of the royal dress everywhere have been engraved with his name in cuneiform characters.
An area with an area of ​​1800 square meters east of the palace of Serse was called "D" palace. What is present here is a high hill in which excavations were found of the scattered material and pieces of stone that were probably the remains of the palace of Xerxes.
Although it is considered a room for the guards' parties or a garden, yet no one believes in the existence of a palace in this place.
The harem or the gynaeceum is a large complex that stood in the south corner of Takht-e Jamshid's terrace.

Harem of Serse

Considering the public structure of the building, it was called the hare of Serse. The drawing is in the shape of an "L" and at a right angle of which a wing is located in the west section, that is to say south of the palace of Serse and is known as the "western section of the harem"; another wing is located west of the treasure room and east of the "D" palace and it is precisely that part that has been rebuilt and today is the "Takht-e Jamshid museum" where the administrative part, the library and the research foundation of Perse-Pasargad.
This complex consists of over 20 housing units and each includes a small living room with four columns and one or two adjacent rooms. All units are connected to each other via corridors. The presence of only one main entrance to enter and exit and the thick walls, have led all the scholars to the theory that this complex was a "harem" or a "gynaeceum", although in the inscription of Xerxes there is no mention of it .
Since many objects have not been found during the various excavations in this complex, it is supposed that during the fire at Takht-e Jamshid it was abandoned. According to other theories this building was a warehouse, for some the palace of the queen and for others the residence of the dignitaries.
A large part of this building is now used as a museum and in it, in addition to the works found here, are exhibited works from two prehistoric periods and from the Islamic period. This museum has been divided into three distinct sections: the main part contains the objects found in Takht-e Jamshid: works of clay, stone and metal that include tablets with drawings in cuneiform characters, head and body of stone animals, tips of lance, arrows, swords, horse harnesses and various crockery that include: plates, trays, glasses, vases and mortars.
Another section concerns the works of the Islamic period that were found in the excavations of the ancient city of Istakhr and among them we can mention the terracotta crockery decorated with colorful drawings and Cufic writing, unglazed jugs and glass crockery.
In another section of the museum are preserved works dating back to prehistoric times such as: crockery, statues of terracotta and stone tools belonging to the period between the fourth and the first millennium BC.
The boardroom of this building is located in the middle of the Takht-e Jamshid terrace and in the south end of the courtyard facing the eastern staircase of the Apadana palace. This building, on the base of the bas-reliefs of its eastern staircase where the dignitaries of the court are carved in the act of climbing the stairs, has been called the hall or council building.
Because the image of servants with a plate of food is depicted on the edge of the south steps of this building, there is also the probability that this was the place where parties were held.

"Central palace" or "Trypilon"

This small palace connects to the others through three entrances and some corridors and for this reason it has also been called "central palace" or "Trypilon" and "Porta dei Re". Some researchers attribute the construction of this building to Darius the Great, others to Xerxes, and still others believe that Artaxerxes completed it.
Three large stone entrances led to the arcades and rooms of the hall. The bas-reliefs of the northern and southern entrance show the king as he leaves the hall and the low relief of the eastern entrance portrays the king on the throne.
Twenty-eight emissaries of the nations subject to the Achaemenid hegemony support the great royal canopy and bring it into the hall and on it was placed a royal throne on which Ardeshir I is sitting and behind him his son is standing. Above the canopy there is a regal parasol with fringes and flounces decorated with roaring lions deployed in front of each other in the part where there is a winged circle (signifying the glory of Iran) within a frame with flowers of twelve petals.
Above the scene is depicted the image of the "royal glory" (winged man) with the circle and the open hand extended. The order of the delegations carrying the great royal canopy, represented on two symmetrical fronts with each other, is as follows: 1. Delegation of the Medes, 2. Susiani, 3. Armeni, 4.Ariani, 5. Babylonians, 6. Lidiani, 7. Arachosians, 8. Assiri, 9. Cappadocian. 10. Egyptians, 11. Saka with a pointed cap, 12. Greeks of Asia, 13. Parts, 14. Gandhari, 15. Battriani, 16. Sagarti, 17. Sogdiani, 18. Chorasmians, 19. Indians, 20. Eskudrayyan (from Turkey, northeast of Greece), 21. Peoples of the Panjab, 22. Saka worshipers of the haoma, 23. Sciti, 24. Arabs of the Aran Valley, 25. Peoples of Eastern Iran, 26. Libici, 27. Ethiopians, 28, Scythians, nomads of Central Asia, also called Massageti.

The Treasury Building

The treasury building was located on the southeast side of Takht-e Jamshid's terrace. It was built by Dario in two phases and completed by Xerxes. In some sections there are testimonies based on the presence of a second floor but probably the main part consisted of a floor and had a height between 7 and 11 meters.
The great hall to the west of the dimensions of 9 × 11 meters, had a row of columns whose bases were made of stone and their wooden shaft. Based on the archaeological findings, the stems of the columns were coated and showed a mixture of colors.
Xerxes completed the large north hall of the treasury called the 99 columns but a researcher believes that this hall was Dari's throne room. Takht-e Jamshid's treasury was sacked and burned by the Macedonians along with its other parts.
According to authoritative historians, Alexander found in the treasury a large amount of gold, silver and valuables that according to an Iranian researcher "to transfer to another safer place these findings and take away the treasure of Darius and his successors were necessary 3 thousand camels and many mules from Susa and from Babol ".
This researcher also writes about the cause of Takht-e Jamshid's fire: "Alexander stopped at Takht-e Jamshid for two months and then, despite the advice of his wise old adviser Parmenione, he set the royal citadel on fire, destroying it.
The reason for this act is not to be attributed to drunkenness or even to the fact that he was outside of himself - as some writers have declared to justify it - and not even to the pleasure of revenge on Xerxes who had burnt Athens. Alexander had not yet become a slave to alcohol and prostitutes so much to demolish because of Thaiss, the Athenian prostitute, the magnificent citadel that belonged to him and his Greek education was not such as to be called "hero of Athens"; the real reason that led him to set fire to Persepolis was to have seen how the Persians had built a magnificent, religious, central and national capital in this place and as long as it remained standing, their hope would be to keep alive the Achaemenid state and preservation of national customs ... this prompted him to set fire to the city intentionally and in a frenzy ".
But over the centuries among the ruins of the treasury and during the archaeological excavations, valuable objects were found. Among these we can mention the bowl with the inscription of Assurbanipal, the marble crockery with the name of the Necho and Amosis pharaohs, some Egyptian and Greek objects, various crockery, a large quantity of metallic arrows, spearheads and etc.
Besides these objects, one of the most important finds in the Takht-e Jamshid treasury is the discovery of 750 clay tablets similar to seals on whose sides was written, in writing and in the Elamite language, a text on the workers, on the builders, on employers, the method and the amount of their salary.
After the discovery of these tablets, in addition to the inscriptions of Takht-e Jamshid and the more or less exhaustive accounts of the Greek and Byzantine writers, another first-hand source was added to the sources of the Achaemenid studies. In the 1936 in the Takht-e Jamshid treasury two large bas-reliefs almost 6 meters long were found and still today the most intact example of these is preserved in the national museum of Iran in Tehran and the other is in its original place in the treasury of Takht-e Jamshid.
This bas-relief shows the king seated on the throne, a stick in his right hand and a flower in his left. Behind him is his son, a servant, a medium-sized gun carrier and two standing Persian guards. In front of the king there are two incense bearers and behind them an average officer with his hand in front of his mouth in a sign of respect and two Persian guards.
For a long time all scholars have been of the opinion that the king sitting on the throne in the bas-relief was Darius the Great and that standing behind him Xerxes, but the archaeologists, during the restoration work, realized that these bas-reliefs were originally located in the stairway dell'Apadana and later they were transferred to the treasury and were placed in place of the current bas-reliefs or the image of a middle dignitary interspersed with a Persian; this fact caused the experts to believe that these bas-reliefs show Xerxes and his eldest son Darius II.

"Hall of the Throne"

The palace of the 100 columns that some also call "Sala del trono", Podium "and" Sala delle udienze di Serse ", was located north of the treasury and east of the Apadana palace and had an area of ​​almost 4700 square meters. Although the height of its columns has been estimated to be 14 meters, it is nevertheless less than that of the columns of the Apadana.
The presence of 100 columns in the central square hall of this building meant that it was called the hall or palace of the 100 columns. The building was started at the time of Xerxes around 470 BC and was completed at the time of his son Artaxerxes I, around 450 BC
On each side there are two entrances whose door has been decorated with bas-reliefs. The scene of the audience is repeated four times on each side of the two northern entrances which are higher than the others.
Over this scene Artaxerxes I is seated on the royal throne with his face turned outward. Opposite him are two incense bearers and an average officer bowed forward, in one hand the ceremonial staff's stick and the other in front of his mouth as a sign of respect.
Behind him is a standing man of Persian origin. There are three people behind the king. One of them was a court eunuch who holds a flywheel with one hand over the royal crown and in the other he has a towel.
The second person is a middle person who carries a quiver, an arrow holder and a halberd and other weapons of the king. The third person is a Persian soldier standing with a spear in his hand. The whole scene is surrounded by a frame of flowers with petals 12 and above the head of the king we can see the decorated corner of the royal parasol.
In addition to this, 5 groups of 10 soldiers (in 5 files facing each other) are portrayed in each input and therefore two 100 columns inputs show a set of 100 soldiers in 10 files of 10 people that in a certain way they are indicators of the relationship between the 100 columns and the 100 soldiers on which the crown and the royal throne were supported.
Smaller entrances of the west and east walls (or according to some "royal courage" or "pahlevān, regal heroes") show the king while fighting with the lion, the demon and supernatural creatures. The entrances to the south show "the representatives of the nations that support the great royal throne". These are the same ones whose image was imprinted in the eastern entrance of the council building but here they are portrayed in two groups of 14.
Regarding the function of this building, the researchers' point of view is different. Some appoint this palace-hall of the throne and consider it to be used for the preservation and exhibition of royal treasures.
Some believe that this hall was used for the commemoration of the garrison and an Iranian researcher called this building "hall of the brave". In front of the courtyard of the 100 palace there are traces of a door whose construction works, based on the evidence present, were not finished and left in half. This was called "Unfinished Door".
The complete design of this door is like that of the nations with the difference that on either side of it there were two long rooms that probably had been thought of as the residence of the guards.
At the foot of the mountain Rahmat and near the terrace of Takht-e Jamshid, at the height of 40 meters, there are two rock tombs related to "Artaxerxes II" and "Artaxerxes III" but it is not clear which tomb belongs to which "Artaxerxes" .
The tomb attributed to Darius III is also located behind a hill south of Takht-e Jamshid's terrace and was left unfinished. These tombs from the structural point of view have relatively common shape and characteristics. The facade of each is in the form of a cross or of four arms with an almost equal surface.

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