Superb, fine, great, impressive… All these words are not about my photos, but about the place Taht-e Jamshid or Persepolis, the ancient capital of the powerful Persian Empire destroyed by Alexander the Great.
Modern Iranians identify themselves with ancient Persians and for them Persepolis is the best proof of their great past. In the West, Ancient Greece and Macedonia are seen as the start of the European civilization. Thus they prefer to sympathize with the enemies of the ancient Persians. However, the truth is that the Achaemenid empire was much closer to the modern West with its laws, rights and orders than the Greek states. In fact, making their great empire the Persian kings were the first in the Near East that issued equitable and humane laws. Yes, sometimes they were pitiless. But they were liberals in front of their absolutely bloody predecessors. They were not too xenophobic as Greeks and some nations, as the Hebrews and Phoenicians, obligated to Persians with their new prime of life. Anyway, after the destruction of Persepolis Alexander plagiarized much and Persian achievements impregnated the Hellenic culture.
Persepolis was founded by Cyrus the Great (559 – 530 BC), but all surviving constructions are of the earliest time. Probably it was only a big imperial residence and not the trading center as neighboring Babylon. The city covered only 1.25 sq kilometers. Alexander burnt it to the ground in 330 BC. Thus we only have to rejoice with the mere rest of the brilliant capital.
I especially liked the ruins of Darius’ palace. It is not too large. Jean de Thévenot visited it in the 17th century and doubted that it was the residence, because it looked small in front of European royal palaces. But I had no any doubts, because a great band of scholars had established this fact correctly. Reliefs along the corridors depict usual life of the palace, as numerous subjects, officials, warriors and, of course, the Immortal Guard.
Persepolis is our common heritage, but it is not overcrowded with tourists as Giza or Taj Machal, although Iranians do not try to snatch much. I paid only approximately 6 USD as the entrance fee. It is also interesting to note that I came to Taht-e Jamshid at 4 PM and I was only the 16th foreign traveler for that day.