In Search of the Zoroastrians


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The site's Iranian name is Takht-e-Jamshid, "The throne of Jamshid", a mythical King of Iran. The ancient name is "Parsa", "Pars's Town". Provincial of Fars. Altitude 1,800 meters, 60 km N-E of Shiraz on an excellent road, 420 km S of Esfahan on a good road. International airport at Shiraz. National airport at Persepolis.
A large bare plain, surrounded by mauve cliffs with sharp edges. It is there, in the center of the Marv Dasht basin, that Cyrus the Great chose, toward the end of the his reign, to build under the shelter of a fold in the mountains, a palace worthy of the Empire. It was named Parsa, but later under subsequent Greek influence became known as Persepolis, "The city of the Persians".


You go to Pasargarde to contemplate, in the solitude of Land deserted for the past two thousand years, the tomb of Cyrus, the founder of an Empire. But you first go through Naqsh-e-Rostam is a sort of "Valley of Kings", dominated by tall ochre-colored cliffs, cracked and wrinkled by the wind with half-way up, the cross-shaped cavities of the tombs cut right into the stone.

Without going into detail the following excursion site are worthy of mentions: Bishahpur(140 km to the West on the Ahvaz road), a large archaeological site in gorgeous mountain setting, with the remnants of the palace of the Sassanid King Shahpur (241-272 A.D.), the Qalaeh-ye Dokhtar Gorges, controlled by an impressive system of fortifications erected in the 10th and 11th centuries (near Firouzabad, 110km South of Shiraz); other Sassanid fortresses near Fasa (170 km to the S-E); farther on the same road, in the direction of Darab (280 km of Shiraz) fortified enclosures, bas reliefs and at Darab proper, a que, cross-shaped mosque hewn out of the rock

The many buildings which make up Persepolis are on an artificial terrace about 300 metres long and 450 meters wide, between 10 and 20 meters above ground-level. You reach the terrace by a monumental double staircase.

The gaunt beauty of the Mountains, the immense landscape, the deep silence which pervades, the site remote from any village, are appropriate for the sacred character of this necropolis sheltering the tombs of the main Achaemenian Sovereigns (Cyrus lies in solitude at Pasargadae). From right to left, the tombs are those of Xerxes, Darius the Great Artaxerxes I and Darius II. Darius the Great's Tomb is larger than the others.



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