Persepolis – the Palaces

Persepolis – the palaces

Persepolis Darius palace 440-1 redLeading off from the Apadana and were several palaces. The best preserved is that of Darius, otherwise kniown as the Tachara. It is currently closed to visitors, but a good impression of its appearance can be seen from the outside.

Persepolis procession of guards DSC05434

At the front is a staircase with some fine carvings representing the Royal guard carrying spears resting on their big toes, while at the side Persepolis priests bearing offerings DSC03236there are priests carrying offerings. However, it appears that this extension was mainly built or rebuilt 170 years later by Artaxerxes III.




This plan, courtesy of Wikipedia, comes from the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1913, before the major excavations carried out in the 1930s.

The Gateway of All Lands is bottom left, then to its right (bottom centre) is the Apadana, with the Palace of Darius to its right.


Persepolis harem_museum DSC05471


To the east of the palaces was a building, often identified as the harem or women’s quarters. This was reconstructed by the American excavators in the 1930s and is now used as a museum and offices, but it gives good if garish indication of what the buildings probably looked like originally.

Persepolis Treasury 460-1 redOn the south east side of the complex was one of the most important buildings, the Treasury. This does not seem very spectacular today, but this is where the treasures rendered to the king by the subject nations were stored. Following its capture by Alexander, its treasures, which according to Diodorus Siculus included 2,500 toms of gold, were all carted away.

The excavations in the 1930s also uncovered a valuable cache of over 750 clay tablets. These were written in the Elamite language and record the wages and other expenditures paid to labourers and officials.



Persepolis 100 columns general DSC05490In the north-west corner of the site there is another major building called the Hall of 100 columns, containing 10 rows, each of 10 columns. This lies parallel to the Apadana and like it faces north, and it clearly forms a an alternative, perhaops even a rival to the Apadana. However, in date it is a generation later, having been begun by Xerxes and completed by his successor, Artaxerxes.

Persepolis 100 columns side DSC05505However, none of the columns survive, though there is a fine gateway and niches along the walls. Is it perhaps a quirk of fate that it is the fortuitous survival of the 13 columns in the Apadana that gives it a unique appearance and has made it into the renowned site that it has become today.

One of the most spectacular sites at Persepolis is the stairway that leads back up into the Apadana. This is decorated with superb carvings.


On to these carvings


June 2017


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