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Istakhr

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Istakhr: ancient Sasanian royal residence, very close to Persepolis; modern Takht-e Tavoos.

In 224 CE, a Persian nobleman named Pâpak, son of Sasan, dethroned the lawful ruler in Persia, Artabazus V. As one of his residences, the new ruler chose Istakhr, not far from ancient Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenids, with whom the new, Sasanian dynasty, identified itself. The Achaemenid royal tombs of Naqš-i Rustam are not far from Istakhr too. The city itself was not completely new: human occupation had started as early as the fourth millennium BCE, and the site was certainly occupied in the Bronze Age, by the Achaemenids, Seleucids (who used it as a mint town) and Parthians.

The city, which had strong walls, repulsed the first Arabian attack in c.644, but was captured and sacked in c.650; although the site had not really been abandoned, most people moved to Shiraz (which was founded in 684). Today, Istakhr is nothing but a plain full of sherds, architectural remains, and a few ruins. The walled-in area measured 1,400 x 650 meters and was surrounded by a ditch that was connected to the river Pulvar. 

The modern name Takht-e Tavoos means "peacock throne".

This page was created in 2005; last modified on 26 March 2014.