The Ruins of Ancient Persepolis: A Photo Journey

Iran was once the heart of the mighty Persian empire and the Persian empire’s ceremonial capital was Persepolis. Full of columns, detailed reliefs, imposing gateways and staircases, it is also infamous as the ancient city Alexander The Great burnt down!

As a lover of history, especially ancient history, my travels in Iran meant a visit to the ruins of ancient Persepolis was an absolute must!


Persepolis seen from above

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Persepolis seen from above

Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C. and added to by Xerxes I and II, and Artaxerxes I, II and III ancient Persepolis was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models.

Entry to this incredible palace complex is via the Grand Stairway carved from massive blocks of stone.

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The Grand Staircase makes for a grand entry


The Grand Staircase

The Grand Stairway leads up to Xerxes’s Gateway, or the Gateway of All Nations. The gateway is seriously impressive and guarded by bulls with the head of bearded men and gorgeous wings. These winged and bearded beasts are some of my all-time favourite ancient monuments ever!

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The Gateway of All Nations

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A guard on the Gateway of All Nations

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Winged, bearded bulls

The impressive structures don’t stop there. Persepolis is also famous for the bas-reliefs of the Apadana Staircase. These intricately detailed reliefs depict dignitaries from the nations of the time bringing gifts to the Persian king. These nations include Parthians, Egyptians and Ethiopians!


Gifts for the Persian king


Bas reliefs on the Apadana Staircase


IMG_2774As you would expect for such an impressive complex all buildings were built on a large scale and the Palace of the 100 Columns was no exception. Sadly all that is now left are only parts of the columns.


Palace of 100 Columns


A smaller palace at Persepolis

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Also a must see are the incredible rock-hewn tombs at Naqsh-e Rostam believed to be the tombs of Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I only six kilometres from the ruins of Persepolis

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The rock-hewn tombs at Naqsh-e Rostam



Exploring the impressive ruins of ancient Persepolis was proof once again that there is so much more to Iran than you can ever imagine!

Do you like to visit ancient ruins when you travel? What’s your favourite?

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4 comments on “The Ruins of Ancient Persepolis: A Photo Journey”

  1. Pingback: 7 Reasons Why You should Travel to Iran

  2. Sappa68 Reply

    Your blog is absolutely awesome and really inspirational. I have made solo trips in Europe and Asia but it never occurred to me that a woman could safely travel through the ‘Stans and Iran. You are so gutsy but you make it sound no different to a trip to London! Really impressed and now wondering if I could do the same. Meanwhile am devouring each post. What an adventurer!!

  3. Sappa68 Reply

    The other thing I’m struck by, is the lack of crowds. Compared to comparable sites in places like Rome where there are so many hordes it seems like you can really enjoy looking at these incredible places in relative calm.

  4. Tim UrbanDuniya Reply

    While Persepolis for me was pretty incredible, what really blew me away was the size of Naqsh-e Rostam! It’s just massive, up on that rock face. Definitely worth a visit 🙂

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