Persepolis (/pərˈsɛpəlɪs/; Old Persian: 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, romanized: Pārsa; New Persian: تخت جمشید, romanized: Takht-e Jamshīd, lit.'Throne of Jamshid') was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (c.550–330 BC). It is situated in the plains of Marvdasht, encircled by southern Zagros mountains of Iran. Modern day Shiraz is situated 60 kilometres (37 mi) southwest of the ruins of Persepolis. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.[2]

Ruins of the Gate of All Nations, Persepolis.
Shown within Iran
LocationMarvdasht, Fars Province, Iran[1]
Coordinates29°56′04″N 52°53′29″E
BuilderDarius the Great, Xerxes the Great and Artaxerxes I
MaterialLimestone, mud-brick, cedar wood
Founded6th century BC
PeriodsAchaemenid Empire
Site notes
Conditionin ruins
ManagementCultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran
Public accessopen
Architectural stylesAchaemenid
Official namePersepolis
Criteriai, iii, vi
Designated1979 (3rd session)
Reference no.114
State PartyIran

The complex is raised high on a walled platform, with five "palaces" or halls of varying size, and grand entrances. The function of Persepolis remains quite unclear. It was not one of the largest cities in Persia, let alone the rest of the empire, but appears to have been a grand ceremonial complex that was only occupied seasonally; it is still not entirely clear where the king's private quarters actually were. Until recent challenges, most archaeologists held that it was especially used for celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, held at the spring equinox, and still an important annual festivity in modern Iran. The Iranian nobility and the tributary parts of the empire came to present gifts to the king, as represented in the stairway reliefs.[3]

It is also unclear what permanent structures there were outside the palace complex; it may be better to think of Persepolis as just that complex rather than a "city" in the normal sense.

The complex was taken by the army of Alexander the Great in 330 BC, and soon after the wooden parts were completely destroyed by fire, very likely deliberately.

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