Persepolis

I was just too tired yesterday to deal with the internet. But, it was a great day all in all. We left early, 7:30 from Shiraz heading for Persepolis. Two women in the group had decided to leave earlier, and took a taxi at 6:60am in order to be there when the gate opened. They had some time to wander on their own, and were happy to have done it. I’m fine with seeing it as long as I did. A person could, however, go there many many times over many many years and not understand it all.Persepolis gate

Unlike Pompei, and unlike Leptis Magna ( in Libya), Persepolis’s purpose is less well understood. It might have been one of several places where the king held court. It might have been other things. What it is, however, is dramatic. Built between 655-600BC, more or less, it pre-dates the ancient Greek cities by at least 200 years. The symbols of Persepolis, the Man-headed Winged Bull,Horse pillar

similar to the Assyrians, and the sort of Ram headed beast, two heads on one body, are very powerful images of strength and power.There is also a repeated image of a lion eating the hind end of a bull. Apparently that symbolizes the Persian New Year, with the lion representing the new year the the bull the old year. Which leads to an interpretation that the place was built to celebrate the new year, could be.

The site is on a huge raised platform, approached by a double staircase of 110 steps on each side. You can go up either way. It’s a lot of shallow steps.Then you walk through a “gate” or what was in theory a gate with those amazing winged man-headed bull creatures on either side in bas-relief. There is so much sculpture, most in low relief, it is awe inspiring to imagine the time spent in creating it all. As Denise, our lecturer pointed out to us, there are several versions of “King on High” as she calls it. \"king on high\" carving

These picture the King, Cyrus the Great, initial builder of the place, on his throne with attendants. Below him are two layers of men, representing the various “countries” that Cyrus’s army has conquered. They are individualized by different beards, clothing, hats, shoes and sometimes mustaches. The platform has legs, and the legs are shown not touching the ground. The men are holding the King up in honor of his power over them, it’s pretty amazing to see. There was just so much to see, and it kept getting hotter and hotter. From the platform, in-between columns with different kinds of capitals, you can see mountains. All around the area are green fields of wheat. In the very old time, there must have been similiar fields in order to feed the thousands of people who must have come to see the king.

It was all quite wonderful, and I have lots and lots of pictures. We stopped to see the tombs of several kings quite nearby, each of which has wonderful carvings below them.Kings tomb, PersepolisCarvings on Tomb

Then it was lunch time and we ate outdoors and had a lovely time. The bus ride to Isfahan loomed ahead, 6 hours. We all survived, some nap time, some talking time, some reading time. We stopped once to use toilets at a middle of absolutely nowhere small hotel/restaurant. It was clean and fine, even if all the toilets were the squat sort.Outside of hotel rooms, and occasional others, most toilets here are the squat variety. they can be surprisingly OK, if well ventilated, some even have a flush mechanism. I”m getting used to it, although I do prefer “european ” style faciilities!

We arrived pretty bedraggled at the ultra-elegant Abbansi Hotel in Isfahan. We staggered to our rooms, and had a pretty poor dinner in the main dining room. My room was pretty icky, like a 60’s motel. Turns out 3 of us got stuck in the “new wing”, but were moved later today in to the big main building. I”m on the top floor, in a still modernish room, but I have a patio looking across the street, more space and a much more convenient location.

I’m going to do today separately, in case I run out of time on this computer in the hotel. One has to buy a certain amount of time, and it’s hard to tell when it will stop!

Karen

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Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 5:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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