Takht-e Jamshid, a World Heritage Site and an Ancient Civilization
Without a doubt, most of the people traveling to Iran, plan to visit the Takht-e Jamshid. This magnificent archeologic site is one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. The complex was actually the center of the great Persian Empire and ceremonial capital during the Achaemenian Empire. The monument was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979 by UNESCO. We are going to briefly introduce the breathtaking complex of Takht-e Jamshid.
• What does Takht-e Jamshid mean?
What does Takht-e Jamshid mean?
The word Takht-e Jamshid in English is Persepolis which is a combination of Pérsēs and polis, and it means “The Persian city”. In Farsi, it is Takht-e Jamshid, which literally means “Throne of Jamshid”. It is believed that Jamshid; an Iranian mythological figure built the monument at the time of the Sassanid period (224-651 AD).
Takht-e Jamshid and its History
The ruins of the Takht-e Jamshid are situated in south-western Iran, about 60 kilometers northeast of Shiraz, at the foot of Kuh-e Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy). To visit the monument, it is best to rent a car, to visit the Pasargadae, Naqsh-e Rostam, Naqsh-e Rajab, and the Takht-e Jamshid on the same day.
According to the historical evidence, the Takht-e Jamshid was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire during 550-350 BC, and it was occupied seasonally. The most function of this complex was during Norouz (Iranian New Year Festival).
The French archaeologist, Andre Godard, believed that Cyrus the Great chose the site, but it was Darius 1st who built the terrace and palaces. It is said that in 519 BC, the construction of a broad stairway started which was initially planned to be the main entrance to the main terrace.
Alexander the Great, in 330 BC, sent the main force of his army to Takht-e Jamshid by the Royal Road. He outflanked and destroyed the defenders after 30 days and after several months, he allowed his troops to loot the Takht-e Jamshid. Many historians believe that, while Alexander’s army celebrated their victory with a symposium, they decided to take revenge against the Persians. Therefore, they put fire on the monument.
Till the 316 BCE Takht-e Jamshid was still the capital of Persia as a province of the Macedonian Empire. Under the Seleucid Kingdom, the city gradually declined and lost its ancient glory.
Different Sections at the Takht-e Jamshid
The monument has different sections; military quarters, the treasury, the reception halls and occasional houses for the King. Here is the brief introduction to each section:
The Great Stairways
The dual stairways were built symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall. There are 111 steps measured 6.9 meters (23 feet) wide, with treads of 31 centimeters (12 inches) and rises of 10 centimeters (3.9 inches). It is said that the steps were constructed to allow the nobles and royal family to ascend by horseback.
The Gate of All Nations
The Gate of All Nations was protected by bulls with the head of a bearded man and mythological creature named lamassus. The story behind these creatures is that they warded off the evil and that is the reason there were standing at the gate.
The Apadana Palace
The greatest palace at the Takht-e Jamshid which was built by Darius 1st is the Apadana on the western side of the platform. The palace used for official audiences. There was a grand hall in the shape of a square and seventy-two columns (only 13 of those are still standing at the platform) with sculptures on the top in the shape of two-headed lions, eagles, human beings and cows.
The Tripylon Hall (Council Hall)
The Tripylon (“triple gate”) of Takht-e Jamshid is between the Apadana Palace and the Hall of Hundred Columns. This hall connects these two places and while some historians suggest that it was built after the completion of these two buildings, others argue for an earlier date.
It is said that the hall was a meeting place, where the king could receive his advisers. That is why they call it the Council Hall.
The Tachara Palace
The Tachara Palace was the winter palace which was built by King Darius I the Great. However, he did not live enough to see when it finished. It was completed after his death in 486 by his son and successor Xerxes. In comparison with other palaces at the complex, the Tachara Palace has remained well-preserved. The big stone structures have survived; only the parts of wood have vanished.
The Hadish Palace (Palace of Xerxes)
The Hadish Palace or the Palace of Xerxes at the Takht-e Jamshid literally means “dwelling place” in Farsi. It is twice as large as the Palace of Darius. The main room of Hadish Palace had thirty-six columns and was surrounded by six smaller rooms: three to the east and three to the west.
The Hall of a Hundred Columns (The Throne Hall)
The Hall is located next to the Apadana Palace and it is the second-largest building of the Takht-e Jamshid. The construction of this hall was started by Xerxes and completed by his son Artaxerxes I at the end of the fifth century B.C. There were eight stone doorways on the south and north side of the hall with reliefs of throne scenes. On the east and west sides, there are scenes depicting the king in combat with monsters. This hall was used mainly as the receptions for representatives of all the subject nations of the empire.
The Imperial Treasury
Just adjacent to the Throne Hall is the Imperial Treasury which functioned as a royal storehouse of the Achaemenian kings. The tremendous wealth of the royal family kept here came from the booty of conquered nations and from the annual tribute sent by the peoples of the empire to the king on the occasion of the New Year’s feast.
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