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Persepolis: Lower City


A gate in the Lower City. Photo Marco Prins.
A gate
Persepolis (Old Persian Pârsa, modern Takht-e Jamshid): Greek name of one of the capitals of the ancient Achaemenid empire, founded by the great king Darius (522-486 BCE). There were several satellite sites, like Naqš-i Rustam and Takht-e Rostam.
  
History Photos

Surrounding the Terrace of Persepolis to the south, west, and northwest was the Lower City. It is certain that there were people living over here before Darius I the Great started to build the palace, but unfortunately, hardly anything has been excavated, and what was excavated is still partly unpublished.

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The Lower City. Photo Jona Lendering.
View from the tomb of Artaxerxes II

The second photos shows several large buildings that can be seen from the Tomb of Artaxerxes II Mnemon. They are only some 300 meters south of the terrace, but they remain poorly understood, even though they are closer to the palaces than, for example, a "real royal monument" like the Unfinished tomb. The structure to the right may have been used as storage rooms.
A splendid mansion. Photo Marco Prins.
A splendid mansion

The third photo shows one of the largest mansions: in front a square court, separated from the main residence by small stairs, and a second part, consisting of several rooms surrounding a central hall. The royal palaces had a similar design. owners of these houses must have been very wealthy people, perhaps even princes belonging to the highest Achaemenid elite. This part of the city, which was really large, was looted by the Macedonians of Alexander the Great in 330 BCE, prior to the fire in the palaces. However, the Lower City appears to have remained inhabited.
A small monument northwest of Persepolis. Photo Jona Lendering.
A small monument northwest of Persepolis

So far, the photos were from the southern part of the Lower City. The western part cannot be recovered, because Mohammad Reza Shah build a park on it, where he accommodated his royal guests when he wanted to celebrate the 2,500 year jubilee of the Iranian monarchy. To the north of the Terrace, however, was this small building. Its function is not well understood.

Satellite photos of the southern part can be seen here.
History Photos
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 24 May 2010
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