On our flight to Iran, my husband sat next to an Iranian who was curious on why we wanted to visit Iran; but in the end he told us not to miss Persepolis – it’s a must place to visit in Iran he said. Obviously we did not do our homework, as in the guide book – Lonely Planet or others always put Persepolis as the place to go to. From the name it sounds like another Roman-Ruin, and it’s located where the Roman Empire flourished around 5 BC, but the truth is this was a relic way before the Roman Empire.
So what is Persepolis? Literally it means City of Persia. Architecture style of Persepolis is neither Assyrian nor Egyptian nor Greek, nor a mixture of all. It is located in Iran, or you might say on Persian soil; it was said that King Darius I (an Achaemenian King) first built it in 515 BC. Other studies said that it was King Cyrus the Great who first initiated and chose the site, but it was King Darius who executed, he built the great terrace and the beautiful palace.
Images above is the plan and the sketch of what it was, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemeniad Empire during it’s glory days, between 550 BC to 330 BC. Archeological studies say that this magnificent ceremonial capital was first built in 520 BC, during King Darius I who took the throne, and carried on by his successors over a period of 150 years. They were still constructing the Apadana (Hall of Hundred Columns) when Alexander the Great – burned the Achaemeniad capital which marked the down fall of Achaemenian Dynasty.
architecture of Persepolis
So what kind of architecture is Persepolis we are looking at? as it is not Egyptian architecture nor it is Assyrian architecture, and the fact that it was the Romans who destroyed the culture, obviously this was before the Roman Empire. Persepolis was the creation of Persian architects and artists as per their king’s instructions as well as their own interpretation of their environment, animals, and religions and beauty as you can see above. When you look carefully at the ornaments of the columns did not show anything like Corinthian Columns or any of those elaborate capitals; in fact like you can see in the slide show above, it has its own style of ornaments.
Sadly enough, the majestic grandeur of the Achaemeniad Dynasty as well as its architecture is hardly mentioned in any foreign records or history books.