Persepolis World Heritage Site

About Persepolis World Heritage SiteWithout a doubt, Persepolis is one of the most popular and well-known tourist attraction in the whole of Iran which is located in Marvdasht in Fars Province. It is almost an hour far from the city of Shiraz. The architecture style it has and its great stories about past have made it one of the most attractive historical places in Iran. Persepolis is the number one tourist attraction in Iran that every tourist wants to visit. It is actually a must-see attraction that no one should miss. So, if you would like to step back in time and spend one day in history, come and visit this mystical and breathtaking tourist attraction on your trip to Shiraz.

Persepolis Site - Shiraz Attraction

A Brief History about Persepolis

Persepolis was founded by Darius I, one of the kings of the Achaemenid Empire. Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. Soon it became the capital city of this kingdom. This city is 125000 square meters that even the tiniest part of it has a story to tell. It includes seven palaces which had different uses in the past. Many ceremonies took place in this city, notably the event of Nowruz. The celebration of the New Year was always so important to Iranians and this place was where they gathered to do this special ceremony. However, the exact use of this place is not still clear. The archaeologists have different ideas about the use of Persepolis.

Persepolis Palaces

The Apadana Palace is the greatest and also the oldest palace in this ancient city. It was built under the order of Darius I in 515 BC and took 30 years to complete. The Apadana Palace in Persepolis is 3660 square meters and also consists of 36 columns which have a height of 20 meters. You can find the best structures of Persepolis and also the best stone carvings in the east part of this palace today.

Probably it was the place where the king consulted with the governors and the royals. It is located next to Apadana and is the second largest palace of this site. As the carvings on the walls show, the people came here to visit the king. The king entered from one gate and left the place from one of the other two gates. The entrance has two columns with the statues of the human head on each side. These columns are specially built for this place and no other palaces in this site have this kind of columns. The heads are the symbol of thinking. Therefore, because of its importance, it is called the Throne Hall.

Persepolis Tachara Palace
Persepolis Tachara Palace

Tachara means the winter residential. Since there is an inscription in this place which says “I am Darius who built this Tachara”, it is assumed that this palace is built under Darius I order too. Probably it was his private residence. But it was also built during three different periods. The construction started during Darius I reign, but its stone steps on the south were built by Xerxes I (Darius son) and the stone steps on the west were built by Ardeshir II. All parts of this hall have been decorated with stone carvings which shows the king and his servants. The carvings on the walls of the stairways also show the servants are carrying the animals and some dishes to the place which might indicate that this was a place for the celebrations.

Persepolis Columns
Persepolis Stone Columns

This is one of the most important palaces in this site which was built in 470 BC under the order of Xerxes. Its construction took 20 years but it became one of the most gorgeous and breathtaking halls of this city. Hall of the Hundred Columns is 4700 square meters which makes it the biggest palace in Persepolis. Its columns have 14 meters height and were finished during the reign of Ardeshir I.

The H Palace is one of the palaces in the south of this place which is situated next to the Hadish Palace. The ruins of this palace have remained today.

The Queen Palace was also built by Xerxes I and it is located on a lower height rather than the other palaces. A renovation took place in parts of this palace in 1931 and it became the central office of Persepolis.

Hadish was the name of Xerxes I wife and means a high place. This palace is on the northernmost part of Persepolis and is placed on the highest part of the site. It is connected to the Queen Palace via a stairway.

Although today the Persepolis is just a ruin, in the past it was a luxurious and a magnificent city in Iran. It’s been mentioned that this city was the wealthiest city in the world that even the common people of it had a life with the best quality.

What does Persepolis mean?

Persepolis actually has a meaning. It is not just a name chosen for a city. At the beginning of the construction of this place, it was called “Parseh”. Then the Greeks called it Persepolis which means “The City of Parseh” or “The City of Persians”.

During the Sasanid era, it was called The Hundred Columns. Moreover, during contemporary times people put the name of Takht-e-Jamshid in this place which means “The Throne of Jamshid”. Jamshid was a mythical king who was popular in Ferdowsi’s book “Shahnameh”. As it was written in this book:

“Jamshid was a noble and righteous king who ruled over 700 years in Iran. His throne was as big that the demons put it on their shoulders. ”

Hundred years passed from the kingdom of Achaemenids and people all had forgotten this kingdom. One day, some people were passing by the Persepolis and saw the carvings of demons putting a throne and the king on their shoulder. Therefore, according to the story of Jamshid in Shahnameh, this placed called Takht-e-Jamshid or the Throne of Jamshid since that time.

Persepolis Gates - Shiraz Attraction
Persepolis Gates

Why Persepolis is so important?

What happened to Persepolis?

Alexander the Great was the person who attacked the Persia. Although it wasn’t that easy for him to take this place the first time after several wars finally he could take this place. After a while, a fire burned the palaces which are told that was made by Alexander himself. Some believe that it was an act of revenge for the burning of the Acropolis of Athens during the second Persian invasion of Greece.

Places nearby Persepolis

Visiting the Persepolis might take all day as it is so big that you can’t find out how time passes when you’re in this place. Usually, people visit the Persepolis and Pasargadae in one day as they are so close to each other and it might only take half an hour to go to visit Pasargadae from Persepolis. Naghsh-e-Rostam is another great historical place near the Persepolis. There are four tombs cut into the cliffs which belong to Darius, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II. It is located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis.

Persepolis Gates
Persepolis Stone Carvings

How to get to Persepolis

As it was mentioned before, Persepolis is located 60 km away from the city of Shiraz. It might at least take an hour to get to this place from Shiraz. There is no public transportation to this historical site. Therefore, we offer you to take a tour of this place. We also can offer you a great tour to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Iran which takes 15 days and you can see all the sites of Iran which have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Get Updates & More

Thoughtful thoughts to your inbox