Traces of Persian Empires

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Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz
October 7th 2014
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: 29.602, 52.5313

This is a bit of a cheat because I didn't see these places in this order - but it makes sense to group them together this way.

In the 7th century BC the king of one of the Persian Tribes, Achaemenes, created a unified state in Southern Iran, thereby giving his name to what became the First Persian Empire. By the time his great-grandson ascended the throne in 559BC it was already a potent force, Cyrus the Great, as he became known, rapidly built up a huge military force and killed his grandfather, the king Astyages of the Median empire, at Pasargadae north of Shiraz. Within 11 years Cyrus had conquered much of modern Turkey, modern Pakistan, and the Babylonians. He built his palace at Pasargadae. He was finally defeated, though, by Tomyris - queen of the Massagetae who had warned him that unless he agreed to her commands "bloodthirsty as thou art, I will give thee thy fill of blood.' (see Herodotus!)

Cyrus was entombed just outside his palace at Pasargadae.

Little remains of the palace, and it lies in a flat, dry and dusty plain - but the channels and pools that were used to carry water to his gardens are still visible, and the tomb is largely intact. When Alexander the Great conquered the area he told his soldiers to leave the tomb untouched and he was furious when he learnt later that it had been plundered.

Cyrus' son, Cambyses, continued to grow the empire capturing most of Ehypt and coastal regions as far as Libya. But family infighting left the empire in some disarray until a distant relative of Cyrus, Darius I, took over and put it all back together. The complex at Persepolis was created to serve as the ceremonial and religious hub of the empire. But in 490 BC Darius' armies were defeated in the famous battle at Marathon and Darius died in 486, then his son Xerxes was defeated at Salamis in Greece and the empire went into a decline and was finally finished by Alexander who lived at Persepolis for several months but it was then consumed by fire - no-one knowing if it was deliberate or accidental.

Nesrby are the tombs of Darius himself, Darius II, Xerxes I and Artaxerxes I.

See the pics!

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