Restoration begins on Xerxes rock-hewn tomb in Naqsh-e Rostam

May 13, 2020 - 19:0

TEHRAN – A restoration project has been commenced on parts of Xerxes rock-hewn tomb in Naqsh-e Rostam, a royal rock-hewn necropolis in Fars province, southern Iran, manager of the historical site Mostafa Rakhshandeh announced, CHTN reported on Monday. 

Cracks, contraction and expansion, the internal pressure of rocks and plant growth have damaged most of the bas-relief carvings of the tomb, of which 13 have been restored, he added. 

He also noted that the restoration project, which is one of the biggest of its kind, has begun since 2017 and will continue until the full restoration of the tomb. 

Xerxes I, Old Persian Khshayarsha, by name Xerxes the Great, (born c. 519 BCE—died 465, Persepolis, Iran), Persian king (486–465 BCE), the son and successor of Darius I. He is best known for his massive invasion of Greece from across the Hellespont (480 BCE), a campaign marked by the battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea. His ultimate defeat spelled the beginning of the decline of the Achaemenian Empire.

Naqsh-e Rostam, meaning “Picture of Rostam” is named after mythical Iranian hero which is most celebrated in Shahnameh and Persian mythology. Back in time, natives of the region had erroneously supposed that the carvings below the tombs represent depictions of the mythical hero.

One of the wonders of the ancient world, Naqsh-e Rostam embraces four tombs are where Persian Achaemenid kings are laid to rest, believed to be those of Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I (from left to right facing the cliff), although some historians are still debating this.

There are gorgeous bas-relief carvings above the tomb chambers that are similar to those at Persepolis, with the kings standing on thrones supported by figures representing the subject nations below. There also two similar graves situated on the premises of Persepolis probably belong to Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III.

Beneath the funerary chambers are dotted with seven Sassanian era (224–651) bas-reliefs cut into the cliff depict vivid scenes of imperial conquests and royal ceremonies; signboards below each relief give a detailed description in English.

At the foot of Naqsh-e Rostam, in the direction of the cliff face, stands a square building known as Ka’beh-ye Zardusht, meaning Kaaba of Zoroaster. The building, which is roughly 12 meters high and 7 meters square, probably was constructed in the first half of the 6th century BC, although it bears variety of inscriptions from later periods.


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