Persepolis: once awe-inspiring gateway opens to public after millennia  

May 31, 2021 - 19:15

TEHRAN – After two millennia, the public is to get access to [the remnants of] a majestic gateway, which is situated near the UNESCO-registered Persepolis in southern Iran.

Named Tall-e Ajori, the archaeological site and its surroundings, which has been subject to archaeological work over the past decade, was officially inaugurated as an open-air museum by the visiting Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister on Monday.

According to local experts, tours of Persepolis can start from Tall-e Ajor to have a more detailed introduction of the Iranian culture of the time, allowing tourists and researchers to see the art of the Achaemenids from another angle.

The gateway is made of brick and clay materials and the whole exterior has been decorated with painted bricks. The lower parts and the plinth of the walls are decorated with [themes of] lotus flowers, the body, and facade of the walls are embellished with various colored panels of mythical animals, symbols, and belief symbols of ancient Iranians, Elamites, and Mesopotamians.

Supervised by a joint mission of Iranian and Italian archaeologists and cultural heritage experts, the excavations on Tall-e-Ajori uncovered vestiges of a massive gateway measuring 30 by 40 meters with a height of approximately 12 meters.

The archaeologists succeeded in proving that Cyrus the Great had ordered the construction of the gateway near Persepolis in Tall-e-Ajori and that this magnificent gateway had been put into operation during the reign of his son Cambyses.

“The building had a corridor in the center, which was in form of a rectangular room measuring eight by twelve meters, and inside this central room, there were four living chairs. And the central corridor opened on both sides to the Achaemenid campus,” according to Alireza Askari-Charoudi who is a senior Iranian archaeologist.

The royal city of Persepolis ranks among the archaeological sites which have no equivalent, considering its unique architecture, urban planning, construction technology, and art. Persepolis, also known as Takht-e Jamshid, whose magnificent ruins rest at the foot of Kuh-e Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy) is situated 60 kilometers northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars province.

The city was burnt by Alexander the Great in 330 BC apparently as revenge to the Persians because it seems the Persian King Xerxes had burnt the Greek City of Athens around 150 years earlier. The city’s immense terrace was begun about 518 BC by Darius the Great, the Achaemenid Empire’s king. On this terrace, successive kings erected a series of architecturally stunning palatial buildings, among them the massive Apadana palace and the Throne Hall (“Hundred-Column Hall”).

This 13-ha ensemble of majestic approaches, monumental stairways, throne rooms (Apadana), reception rooms, and dependencies is classified among the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Persepolis was the seat of the government of the Achaemenid Empire, though it was designed primarily to be a showplace and spectacular center for the receptions and festivals of the kings and their empire.

The site is marked by a large terrace with its east side abutting the Kuh-e Rahmat (“Mount of Mercy”). The other three sides are formed by a retaining wall, varying in height with the slope of the ground from 13 to 41 feet (4 to 12 meters); on the west side, a magnificent double stair in two flights of 111 short stone steps leads to the top. On the terrace are the ruins of several colossal buildings, all constructed of a dark gray stone (often polished to a marble-like surface) from the adjacent mountain.


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