About 518 B.C Darius the Great (486-522 B.C), who ruled over a world empire with solid cultural institutions and a great number of civilized nations of the ancient world, decided to found Persia (Persepolis) in the heart of his empire, to serve as a symbol of his power and also as a magnificent setting for celebrating the great national and religious festival of Nowrooz
(Iranian New Year’s Days), which normally coincided with the Spring equinox (on 21st March). To do so, he first ordered a terrace platform at the foot of the mountain called Mehr ( Persian name of kindness ) to be built up as a smooth surface on which various residential and official palaces were to be settled. The partially rock-cut and partially filled-in terrace platform covered an area of 125.000 square meters with a height of 12 meters above the surrounding the Marvdasht plain.
On this terrace platform, Darius started the building of several structures such as: a private palace (Tachara), a large audience hall (Apadana), and a Treasury palace. Work on these and other structures continued for some fifty years, well into the reign of Artaxerxes I, and even then alterations and additions continued till the end of the Acheamenid period.
The original name of this new capital was Perse meaning, which is attested in some of the clay inscriptions of Persepolis. This gave the Greeks the idea of calling it Persepolis, a popular name for “The city of the Persians". The Iranians have called it in
more recent times Takht-e-Jamshid meaning “the Throne of Jamshid" (Jamshid is the most glorious mythical king of the ancient Iranian epics and religious history, which many cultural innovations such as founding of the Nowrooz festival are attributed to him).
Persepolis was Iranian in design and ideological symbolism but international in artistic execution and details of architecture and sculpture. It is for this reason that one can see similarities with the art of ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians and Lonians that all served the Persians as subject nations. The structures on the terrace platform consisted of private residences, audience halls, a vast treasury and a series of fortifications. The most characteristic feature of these buildings was a square central column hall surrounded by adjacent guard rooms or porticos. This type of colonnade was typical of Iranian architecture, earlier and less developed examples of which are known from Hasanlu (Azerbaijan) and Teppe Nushi-Jan (near Hamadan).
The entire Persepolis complex was provided with an efficient system of drainage, piped waterways, and flood outlets. Each structure had a certain function. Some were audience halls, others were private residences,
others still guard rooms and treasure houses. There were also two rock-cut tombs hewn in the Mount Mithra (Mehr) to the east of the terrace. A series of fortification and parapets protected the site. The structures were ornamented with sculptured reliefs and glazed bricks showing scenes suited to their functions. The complex served the Persian Royal Houses until 330 B.C, when the “Great Fire" caused by Macedonian army destroyed it.
1- TERRACE STAIRWAY
This grand double-flight staircase on the north-west of the platform leads up to the terrace. One flight has 111 steps and another one has 110 steps, each 40 cm. deep, 10 cm. high, and nearly 7 meters wide. Both flights have been prepared from huge blocks of stone (some forming four to six steps) and are provided with crenellated parapets symbolizing the whole terrace as a citadel on the outer side. It was a deliberate device to allow the nobles to climb up with ease in their magnificent attire and with dignified movements while conversing with one another.
2- THE GATE OF ALL NATIONS
This palace on the north-west of the terrace was built by Xerxes (660486 B.C), who calls it in the trilingual inscriptions carved on its door jambs “The Gate of All-Lands". Its square hall (612 Square m.) contained four columns (of three still standing one has been reassembled from many fragments), each 5/16 m. in height, and three doorways each of which had a height of 10 meters.
A stone bench of black stone turning around the interior walls of the hall provided seat for the royal guests while waiting for the permission to get into the main courtyard of the Apadana palace.
The doors of the eastern and western doorways are ornamented with the sculptured representation of “guardian figures" which for the western door are guardian bulls and for the eastern doorway toward the mountains are infact composite animals, each having the body of a bull, wings of an eagle, and the crowned head of a beard man.
Above each sculptured figure is engraved a cuneiform inscription in three versions: Old Persian, Elamite and neo-Babylonian. All 12 copies give a single text by Xerxes who praises the Lord Ahuramazda and then states: “ By the grace of Ahuramazda, I built this “Gate of All-Nations".
Much other good (construction) was built in this (City) PARSE (PERSEPOLIS), which I built and which my father built. What ever good construction is seen, all was done by the favor of Ahuramazda. VIAGGIO IN IRAN , IRAN VIAGGIO, IRAN TRAVEL, IRAN TOUR, IRAN VISA