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    Persepolis and Pasargadae, traveling for a glimpse into Iran’s glorious history

    Shiraz - Persepolis and Pasargadae, traveling for a glimpse into Iran’s glorious history


    Outside of our hotel, the driver we had booked the day before was waiting for us. After the mandatory mistaking me for a local, he pointed out he ought to be back in town at 4 pm sharp due to a “very important appointment”, in case we would fall into the temptation of lingering over and lest we forget that Shirazis hardly take the risk to shift into overdrive.

    One of the tombs engraved on the rock of Naqsh-e Rostam necropolis near Persepolis

    One of the tombs engraved on the rock of Naqsh-e Rostam necropolis near Persepolis

    After the introductory greetings, we finally were on our way to Iran’s Persepolis.

    Some an hour and a half, and a whole CD of local Bandari music later, my full immersion into Persian magnificence officially kicked off some 135 km away from Shiraz, at the oldest capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, whose imposing tomb represents the main landmark, around 550 BC, and one of the first and most glorious dynasties falling under the bigger umbrella of the storied Persian Empire.

    The majestic entrance to Persepolis, widely known as the Gate of All Nations

    The majestic entrance to Persepolis, widely known as the Gate of All Nations

    Surrounded by a chain of barren rolling hills were the immortal vestiges of Pasargadae, from its citadel, Tall-i-Takht (Throne Hill), to the 11-meter-high tomb of its founder Cyrus the Great built by himself to ensure a smooth crossover and an afterlife suitable for an emperor; up to one of Iran’s most important archaeological sites, Naqsh-e Rostam, an all-encompassing collection of towering rock burial chambers belonging to different moments of Iran’s stormy past, from the ancient Elamite kingdom to the Achaemenians to the Sassanians, a precious gathering of the different architectural styles of the early dynasties of the Persian Empire all in one site.

    The ruins of ancient palaces in Persepolis

    The ruins of ancient palaces in Persepolis

    The famous lions decorating Persepolis

    The famous lions decorating Persepolis

    With the inevitable mirza ghasemi cravings starting to undermine our concentration level, my friend Madi and I took a much-needed break right at the entrance of the ruins with a glass of sweet khak-e-shir, a popular detoxing drink prepared with the seeds of a plant known as London rocket.

    I had been dreaming of our next stop, Persepolis, since high school and I was finally about to enter what is known as the most sumptuous seat of the Achaemenid Empire.

    Persepolis’ appeal is self-explanatory.

    Founded by Darius the Great around 518 BC on the vast plain of Marv Dasht, the ancient ceremonial city exudes grandeur right from its entrance, the monumental Gate of All Nations where mythological figures of bulls with eagle wings and the head of a bearded man standing with the duty to ward off evil.

    Detail of pillars in Persepolis

    Details of pillars in Persepolis

    Cypress trees alongside the Immortals, Darius' royal guard, engraved in Persepolis' Apadana staircase

    Cypress trees alongside the Immortals, Darius’ royal guard, engraved in Persepolis’ Apadana staircase

    Apadana staircase decorations in Persepolis, Iran

    The exquisite bas-relief of the Apadana staircase, portraying the “Immortals”, the royal guard so much praised by Herodotus, alongside kings, dignitaries and cypress trees, a symbol of immortality, seemed as neat as if just engraved, making it easier to picture the splendor of bygone daily life, with tunic-clad men swanning around and women all spruced up and glowing in their opulent jewelry. Streets would be festooned with finely carved pillars and wonderful palaces, the Zoroastrian fire burning day and night in the heart of what still today is considered one of the most enlightened ancient powers.

    Dignitaries and officials ready to meet Darius the Great and bring him gifts in Persepolis

    Dignitaries and officials ready to meet Darius the Great and bring him gifts

    Fascinating collection of carvings depicting legendary Darius the Great and symbols cherished during the Persian Empire and belonging to their Zoroastrian religion, the ancient ceremonial capital of Persepolis is able to whirl you back to some 2,300 years through an expanse of ancient architecture, the never-missing cypress trees, so present still in today’s decorations and celebrations, and combats and moments of daily life in the Persian BCs.

    The lion taking over the bull, the sun taking over the cold season in Persepolis carvings

    The lion taking over the bull representing the sun taking over the cold season

    Admittedly, it’s never easy to tear yourself from ageless ruins, and Persepolis, with its majestic pillars soaring into the sky, the remains of once opulent palaces and the magnificence of a bygone Empire, never fails to convey a beguiling sense of lost civilization. But Shiraz, the city where the poetic license has acquired the status of daily routine, had more beauty lined up for us.

    Going back felt like a time-lapse adventure that stopped somewhere in the 13th century where I could revel in the wisdom of one of its most famous poets, Saadi. Between history, romance and poetry, it doesn’t matter how long you will stay in Shiraz, its vibe will stay with you right until your return.

    About Us

    The word Persia gives the image of a magical and mysterious land of far away and long ago, of ancient monuments and beautiful works of art – carpets, tiles, fine ceramics and miniatures. It also reminds us of legendary and tragic love stories and epic poems about great wars. And Persia is indeed a world ancient and contemporary, a bridge between heaven and earth. We want to show you around. Discover things to do on your next trip to Iran and plan a trip of your lifetime. Yes, it is that easy! This website gives you the tools to plan your trip to Iran: detailed information on destinations; inspiring ideas on what to see and do in each city; where to stay; where to eat; travel guides and let’s say everything you need so you can dream up a trip to Iran.


    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.