The metal frames of tents left behind after the Shah’s infamous 1971 party stood like skeletons beneath ancient ruins, telling one story of Iran. I had come to see Persepolis, known as Land of the Persians and the Kingdom of Darius the Great.
The great staircase leading to Persepolis was so wide to allow crowds and even horses to ascend at once. Women wearing chadors were silhouetted against the tall columns that had stood for thousands of years. The detailed bas reliefs were the highlight of Persepolis for me. Fine details of soldiers lining the stairways were astonishingly well preserved.
Visitors entering the Gate of All Lands would have been greeted by trumpeters. Today there was just silence. A cuneiform inscription indicated the previous occupants:
“I am Xerxes the great king, King of Kings, King of the lands of many people, King of this great earth far and wide…”
The Homa, a symbol of the Persian Empire look over the ruins at Persepolis.The griffin like structures are seen on Iran Air even today. The carving of a lion biting a bull was in several places and is thought to be an astrological message of Leo over Taurus and the spring equinox.
Having time to yourself is important in Persepolis. Time to imagine the era of Darius the Great and the might of the Persian Empire. What it must have been like to have been a servant or a visiting noble. Thinking about the days when Alexander the Great arrived and burnt the temples to the ground. Persepolis is a place to marvel at the columns and the carvings but also to reflect on history.
Want to read more about my Iranian Journey? Click here to read about the House of Strength.