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Published: December 15th 2017
I was oddly anxious about visiting Persepolis. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of whether it would be a disappointment - had Alexander made such a thorough demolition job in 330BC that there would be nothing worth seeing. In retrospect I needn't have worried, there is plenty to see and it is still an impressive place.
Vahid walked us around the main elements of the site - I think we were lucky that it wasn't blazing sunshine at this exposed place. Whilst the buildings are fragmentary there are lots of marvellous reliefs to look at. We then had free time to explore further - Susan went for tea, I went to see the rock cut tombs in the hillside above the site. Going up the hill gave the opportunity to look down over the whole complex which helped me understand a little how it all fits together. A thoroughly enjoyable morning at another UNESCO World Heritage site..
After lunch we went to the Naqsh-e Rostam necropolis a few kilometres away from Persepolis. This had more rock cut tombs high up the cliff - including that of Darius the Great. Thanks to our birdwatching fellow travellers we were
able to look at some of the detail through binoculars. As well as the Achaemenid tombs there are also carvings from the Sassanid period including one which probably shows Shapur I and the Roman Emperor Valerian in captivity.
I think we all returned to Shiraz having had a great day out.
(As a post script, I visited the British Museum shortly after the trip to Iran. There is a lovely example in there of the glazed tilework that presumably was everywhere - I believe there is a lot more in the Louvre.)
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