- Apr 19, 2018
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Persepolis (Capital of Persia in Greek) or Takht-e Jamshid (The Throne of Jamshid) became summer capital of Achaemenian after Pasargadae. The construction of this impressive palace started by Darius I, one of Cyrus's successors, in about 518 BC. Was completed over a period of 150 years by subsequent kings Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I. It was burned down during Alexander the Great occupation in 331 BC. Historians debate whether was accidental or intentional retaliation.
The entire complex was built atop a lofty terrace reached by a double stairway that led to the monumental Gate of Xerxes. The terrace is about 1,475 ft long by 985 ft wide, and about 25-60 ft high. To the south, across a vast open space, was the huge Apadana, or Audience Hall of Darius; east of the Audience Hall rose the massive Throne Hall—called by early archaeologists the Hall of One Hundred Columns—which was begun by Xerxes and completed by Artaxerxes. Many other structures lay to the south of these main buildings, including the palaces of Darius and Xerxes and the royal treasury.
When you enter the area, you go up the stairs. There are 106 steps about 23 ft wide. At the top of the stairs the first thing you see is Xerxes Gateway with three separate doors and a hallway. The remaining doors are covered with inscriptions and carvings in ancient languages. To the east you can see the double headed eagles.
To the south of gateway, look for the Apadana Palace (audience hall) where kings received visitors and celebrated Noruz (the Persian New Year). Persepolis was occupied only on great occasions of national importance. There are almost no signs of daily wear.
Persepolis was used as a setting for an invocation by the whole nation, led by the divinely invested King, by the grace of the Great God Ahura-Mazda, overcame all enemies and established a world empire which was planned to bring peace, order and prosperity into a chaotic world. Darius declared, "I am one who loves righteousness and hates iniquity... It is not my will that the storng should oppress the weak... God's plan for the earth is not turmoil but peace, prosperity and good government." And for a while this part of the world enjoyed such.
The Court of Apadana was made from material from nearby mountains. The Central Hall was supported by 36 stone columns, each 20m high. Double headed bulls that decorate stairways each represent ancient nationalities. Look for Darius Palace, behind Central Hall connected by stairway. Palace of 100 columns was the largest hall in Persepolis which Darius I used for reception and meetings with his army commanders.
To the east, carved in the mountain see Tomb of Artaxerxes II.
The Persepolis Museum displays ceramic, carvings, cloths and coins discovered there and in a city nearby. There is uncertainty whether the museum building was the harem of Xeres or the Queen's palace.
In a seperate complex next to Persepolis was the Treasury consisting of halls covering over 10,000 sq meters. Found at the Treasury were stone and clay tablets written in Akkadian and Elamite that gave details of the economy of Persepolis. Records of wages paid, hours worked, and vacation. Women were paid the same as men for the same work and were given paid maternity leave. Unlike most large construction projects in the old world, Persepolis was not built by slaves. The workers lived off-site and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.
It is unknown as to how many people lived in and around Persepolis, but it is guessed to be in the thousands or tens of thousands. Since the entire project was over a 150 year time span there were at least six generations of workers born, worked and died during the life of the project.