The province of Fars is located in south of Iran and is counted as one of the most famous provinces. This vast land is of the oldest civilisation centres and was the capital for Iranian kings for centuries. Splendid and important monuments are remained from different dynasties in this province. Fars Province with an area of 126,489 km2, is counted as one of the well-known and important provinces in Iran for industry, agriculture and handicrafts (especially inlaying) and has over 250 industrial sites.

If the traveler to Iran visited only the provinces of Khuzestan and Fars, he would see what is virtually the essential heart of Iranian history. Fars (ancient Parsa) - homeland of the Persians and the source of the name so often given to the entire land - contains not only an enormous number of prehistoric sites with nearly 1,000 identified in the Marv Dasht alone, but the major Achaemenian and Sassanian remains in the country.


Persepolis is situated 58 Kilometers from Shiraz. A large bare plain, surrounded by mauve cliffs with sharp edges. It is there, in the center of the Marv Dasht basin, that Cyrus the Great chose, toward the end of his reign, to build under the shelter of a fold in the mountains, a palace worthy of the Empire. It was named Parsa, but later under subsequent Greek influence became known as Persepolis, "The city of the Persians". The works started in 518 BC by Dariush I. The site consists of the remains of several monumental buildings on a vast stone terrace surrounded by a brick wall.

The splendor of Persepolis, however, lasted only two centuries. Its majestic audience halls and residential palaces perished in flames when Alexander the Great conquered and looted Persepolis not long before the death of the last of the Achaemenians, Dariush III, in 330 BC, and carried away its treasures on 20,000 mules and 5,000 camels. The city gradually declined in the Seleucid period and after, its ruins attesting its ancient glory. In the 3rd century AD the nearby city of Estakhr became the centre of the Sasanian empire.


Important sites :

By far the largest and most magnificent building is the Apadana, begun by Darius and finished by Xerxes, that was used mainly for great receptions by the kings. Thirteen of its seventy-two columns still stand on the enormous platform to which two monumental stairways, on the north and on the east, give access. APADANA They are adorned with rows of beautifully executed reliefs showing scenes from the New Year's festival and processions of representatives of twenty-three subject nations of the Achaemenid Empire, with court notables and Persians and Medes, followed by soldiers and guards, their horses, and royal chariots. Delegates in their native attire, some completely Persian in style, carry gifts as token of their loyalty and as tribute to the king. These gifts include silver and gold vessels and vases, weapons, woven fabrics, jewelry, and animals from the delegates' own countries. Although the overall arrangement of scenes seems repetitive, there are marked differences in the designs of garments, headdresses, hair styles, and beards that give each delegation its own distinctive character and make its origin unmistakable. Another means by which the design achieves diversity is by separating various groups or activities with stylized trees or by using these trees alone to form ornamental bands. There is also an intentional usage of patterns and rhythms that, by repeating figures and groups, conveys a grandiose ornamental impression.

NAQSH-E-ROSTAM At some 13 km northwest of Persepolis are the Achaemenian royal tombs.
There rises a perpendicular wall of rock in which four similar tombs are cut at a considerable height from the bottom of the valley. This place is called Nakhsh-e Rostam (the Picture of Rostam), from the Sasanian carvings below the tombs, which were thought to represent the mythical hero Rostam. That the occupants of these seven tombs were Achaemenian kings might be inferred from the sculptures, and one of those at Nakhsh-e Rostam is expressly declared in its inscriptions to be the tomb of Darius I. The three other tombs, besides that of Darius I, are probably those of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II. The two completed graves behind Persepolis probably belong to Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III. The unfinished one might be that of Arses, who reigned at the longest two years, but is more likely that of Darius III, last of the Achaemenian line, who was overthrown by Alexander the Great.

Pasargad : First dynastic capital of the Achaemenian Empire
The majestic simplicity of the architecture at Pasargad reflects a sense of balance and beauty that was never equaled in either earlier or later Achaemenian times. PASARGAD The principal buildings stand in magnificent isolation, often with a common orientation but scattered over a remarkably wide area. Although no single wall enclosed the whole site, a strong citadel commanded the northern approaches. The dominant feature of the citadel is a huge stone platform, projecting from a low, conical hill. Two unfinished stone staircases and a towering facade of rusticated masonry were evidently intended to form part of an elevated palace enclosure. It is possible that the building represents the famous treasury surrendered to Alexander the Great in 330 BC.
After the accession of Darius I the Great (522 BC), Persepolis replaced Pasargad as the dynastic home.
Farther to the south of Pasargad, the tomb of Cyrus still stands almost intact. Constructed of huge, white limestone blocks, its gabled tomb chamber rests on a rectangular, stepped plinth, with six receding stages. In Islamic times the tomb acquired new sanctity as the supposed resting place of the mother of King Solomon. At the extreme southern edge of the site, an impressive rock-cut road or canal indicates the course of the ancient highway that once linked Pasargadae with Persepolis. TOMB OF CYRUS

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