Persepolis or Takht-e Jamshid (The Throne of Jamshid) was one of the ancient cities of Iran and was the ceremonial capital of the kingdom during the Achaemenid Empire. It is located in the plain of Marvdasht, about 75 km northwest of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran.One of the best-known sites of the ancient world, Persepolis was registered by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1979.
The word Persepolis a compound of Pérsēs and pólis, which means meaning "the Persian city" or "the City of the Persians" in Greek.
The name “Takht-e-Jamshid” is derived from the old belief of that the monuments were built by Jamshid, an Iranian mythological figure.
The founder of this huge complex was Darius the Great one of Cyrus's successors, in about 518 BC and was completed over a period of 150 years by subsequent kings Xerxes I and Artaxerxes.
There is a wide-ranging debate on the function of Persepolis. Many scholars believe Achaemenids have built it to be used as the center for ritual ceremonies, especially Nowruz (the Persian new year and the traditional Iranian festival, which starts at the exact astronomical start of the spring). Some scholars, on the other hand, see the site as a manifestation of royal power or a political, economic, and administrative center of the empire.
The buildings at Persepolis include three general groupings: military quarters, the treasury, and the reception halls and occasional houses for the King. Noted structures include the Great Stairway, the Gate of All Nations, the Apadana, the Hall of a Hundred Columns, the Tripylon Hall and the Tachara, the Hadish Palace, the Palace of Artaxerxes III, the Imperial Treasury, the Royal Stables, and the Chariot House.
The entire complex was built on a lofty terrace. Gray limestone was the main building material used at Persepolis. The terrace of Persepolis, is accessible by a double stairway. There are 106 steps about 23 ft (7 m) wide. At the top of the stairs the first thing that can be seen 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 the double headed eagles can be seen.
The architectural design of all palaces consists of a square central hall surrounded by several regular rows of columns and covered by a flat roof. This simple design was extended by one or more terraces adjoining the sides of the central hall. Thousands of guests could thus attend the royal banquets under a single roof.
Persepolis was built as a merging of all different architecture from all four corners of the Empire: Egyptian, Assyria, Iranian, and Babylon; it was made from a variety of materials and artists that came from all different cities to work on it. There are processions of people and animal statues and carvings all over the ruined buildings, showing all the different nationalities of people , from the Egyptians to Arabs to Indians; all of who made up the great Persian Empire. Persepolis was one of the greatest examples of the merging of cultures shown in its architecture.
Persians planned and directed the construction of this magnificent palace complex. The best artisans and artists from all the nations under the Persian Empire executed the project. This manifestation of Achaemenid architecture was being extended and maintained until 330 BCE, when Alexander of Macedonia brought its glory to an end by looting and burning it.
By setting Persepolis on fire, Alexander destroyed numerous books and a great part of Achaemenid art and culture. He plundered all gold, silver, and riches of the Persepolis treasury. It was the biggest treasury of Achaemenids.
Using a guide is recommended .Be prepared to walk a lot and climb steps .Taking a hat and sunscreen can be usfull because there is hardly any shade and don't forget a bottle of water.