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Persepolis Royal Palace Complex and Capital City, 4th century BC

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"And Ahuramazda was of such a mind, together with all the other gods, that this fortress should be built. And so I built it. And I built it secure and beautiful and adequate, just as I intended to." (Foundation inscription of Darius the Great found at Persepolis). Darius I, king of the vast Persian empire gave orders in the year 518 BC that a new ceremonial palace complex be built in his capital city Persepolis on the edge of the fertile Marv Dasht plain in Persia. It took more than a century, under the rule of his successors, Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I, to complete the monumental project that showcased the Persian royal power to all the representatives from the farthest regions of the empire who pilgrimaged here with their offerings and tributes for the New Year festivities held every spring. Only traces of the capital itself survive but recent surveys on the Marv Dasht plain in the environs of the Persepolis palace complex revealed urban settlement patterns that I incorporated into my illustration. The details of the Persepolis complex as depicted here reflect the most up-to-date research. I used an aerial photo of the site to create this reconstruction. The surviving columns of the Apadana gave me a reliable height for that building to work with, and the same applies to the Tachara Palace of Darius I, The Gate of All Nations as well as the Hundred Column Hall. The heights of other buildings that did not survive were suggested by the thickness of the foundations and the pacing of the column bases. The Persepolis palatial complex was surrounded by extensive gardens and several pools beyond which the residential areas were located themselves interrupted by gardens and agricultural lands watered by a canal system. While the palace complex itself is heavily fortified, there is no trace of city walls around the residential quarters. The view is to the north-east in early morning light.


September 28 2014, 4:27pm








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