Thursday, December 8, 2016


Today was our half day journey to Persepolis, the ruined city 60km outside of Shiraz.  We decided for convenience reasons to book a tour through our hotel but every taxi driver we met on the street would have taken us there "for a good price"

We traveled with 2 Persian couples who didn't really talk to us, and a driver and guide.  The guide was good and in his parallel life was just short of graduating university having studied accounting.  He wanted to get a government job but really before he could get a job he needed to complete 2 years military service.

Persepolis, is a ruined city built over 150 years being after Darius the great took the throne in 520 BC. Historians think that Persepolis covered an area of 125 km and records show that labourers were paid a salary and that females had maternity leave - so an ancient city built without slave labour.  Subjects came from across the empire to pay homage to their king. Persepolis was burned to the ground by Alexander’s in 330 BC. While the palace was built of stone the roofs are believed to have been made from huge timber beams, and as these burned they heated, then melted, the iron and lead clamps that held the structures together.  

Much of the remaining detail was preserved because it was covered by sand, the bas-relief work was extensive and the details tell stories of an empire.  From panels the various tribes of the empire were identified by their dress and the gifts that they were depicted as bringing.  Our guide making a good-natured joke of the neighbouring area said...and we know these are from Esfahan...pause....because they bring no gifts, they are reknown for being stingy.  Each of the groups is lead in a local guard who hold the visitor by the hand.  Because the different tribes didn't speak a common language they were guided by touch rather then by voice instructions.  Interesting little interpretations from the carvings.

If you look at the pieces individually they are just rocks, but the sum of the parts of Persepolis shows a slice of history and you can imagine what it was like in its heyday.  

We then drove 4km further down the road to Naqsh-e Rostam, the rock burial tombs of 4 of the kings of Persepolis, including Darius the Great

The Persian group continued on their full day tour and we were put in a taxi back to Shiraz.  Here we gathered our bags, checked out of the hotel and taxied across to the Karendish bus terminal to get a VIP bus to Isfahan (Esfahan) a 6 hour journey south.  VIP buses are nice!  They seat 25 people have reclining seats, you get a snack pack to eat, and water in a chiller.  All for the princely sum of 300,000 rials or $15.

After an uneventful journey in Isfahan we got a taxi to our hotel.  He drove like he was trying to get the vehicle airborne, but once we got into traffic, the pace was a little less hair-raising!  It was Thursday evening, and at close to 10 pm the streets were teeming with people window shopping before Friday rest-day.

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