Saturday, October 18, 2008

13-14 October – Shiraz and Persepolis, Iran

Shiraz has a nice bazaar where we spent some time and caused traffic jams. Nina studied the latest ladies fashion, but she did not make any investments…. We enjoyed a traditional Iranian meal in a restaurant, with Iranian music, before we continued towards Persepolis.

Persepolis is the star attraction of Iran, and it attracts quite a lot of visitors. During the Achaemenid dynasty, Darius the Great started to construct a monumental capital city in 518 BC. Work continued for almost 200 years. But when Alexander the Great came on a not so friendly visit in 330 BC, his armies burned the city to the ground. Persepolis remained lost to the world and buried in sand until the 1930s when excavations started. Today it is magnificent to wander around the ruins and admire the richly decorated walls. The city must have been very impressive in its glory days.

The mighty rulers of Persepolis were buried in rock tombs high up on a mountain wall a few kilometers north in what is today called Naqsh-e Rostam.

To really fill our ruin quota, we also made a quick stop at Pasargadae, the capitol city prior to Persepolis, under Cyrus the Great. The ruins are not nearly as impressive as those in Persepolis. But we were very fascinated by the 20 men who tried to dismantle a tarmac road with iron bars and sledge hammers.

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