The Wheel and Axle

Persia 2017: Where Kings Sleep

by on Oct.08, 2017, under My Life, Travel & Culture

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Naqsh-e Rostam
Fars Province, Iran
24 September 2017

Just a short ride from Persepolis is Naqsh-e Rostam, an ancient necropolis housing the tombs of several kings of the First Persian Empire. Their sarcophagi are enshrined in separate massive chambers, with giant crosses cut into the mountain side serving as entrances to the respective tombs.

Of these Achaemenid kings, Darius I is the only one confirmed to be laid to rest here, based on an inscription on his tomb, which the third from the left. The other three are theorized to be those of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II.

Below at ground level are rock reliefs of later Persian kings of the Sassanian Empire, including one wherein Shapur I is depicted as forcing the defeated Roman Emperor Valerian into submission. It’s believed these later kings carved the reliefs under the tombs to signify a link to the older Achaemenid kings.

The Tomb of Cyrus
Pasargadae, Iran
24 September 2017

A few hours from Persepolis is Pasargadae, now a UNESCO World Heritage site as well.

Before Darius built Persepolis, the ancient city of Pasargadae was the original capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great. Here, the ziggurat tomb of the great king Cyrus is located.

Nearby ruins also suggest palaces and gardens were ubiquitous in the area. Some of the structures still remain, and it is also believed that the tomb of Cyrus’ son, Cambyses II, may be one of these.

We had a late lunch in a traditional restaurant in the village. The echoes of the past remain in this old city, where the spectres of civilizations long gone are still felt when you walk around under the hot and dry sun.


Naqsh-e Rostam


The Tomb of Cyrus


Around Pasargadae

Fariba was our wonderful guide for the Persepolis, Necropolis, and Pasargadae all-day tour. We booked them through a joiner tour from our hostel, Niayesh Boutique Hostel, but they can also be reached through their website.

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