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Takht-e Rostam


Takht-e Rostam from the east. Photo Jona Lendering.
Takht-e Rostam from the east
Takht-e Rostam or Takht-e Gohar: name of an Achaemenid stone structure near Persepolis, along the road from Naqš-i Rustam to Naqš-e Rajab.

For Kees Tol, on his birthday

The square platform between Naqš-i Rustam to Naqš-e Rajab poses something of a mystery to researchers. Made of local stone and measuring about 12 x 12 meters, it was obviously meant as the base for some kind of higher structure, but we have no idea what that may have been. It has been suggested that it was the tomb of king Cambyses II (530-522), and there is indeed some resemblance to the lower tiers of the tomb of his father Cyrus the Great.

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
The upper register of the tomb of Artaxerxes II. Photo Jona Lendering.
The Tomb of Artaxerxes II at Persepolis: the king standing on a platform.

However, but this interpretation does not fit well with the fact that he was venerated in Pasargadae (as we known from the Persepolis Fortification Tablets), where his tomb has reportedly been identified.[1] Of course, a cult on one place does not rule out the possibility of an unfinished tomb somewhere else.

Others have argued that it may have been the base of the tomb of Cyrus the Younger, which I find hard to believe; we have only the word of the notoriously inaccurate Ctesias that the rebel was buried at all. Personally, I was reminded of the platforms on which the Achaemenid kings appear to have worshiped the sacred fire, as we can see on the reliefs of the royal tombs at nearby Naqš-i Rustam and Persepolis. However, this is merely a suggestion.


Takht-e Rostam from the east. Photo Jona Lendering. Takht-e Rostam from the northeast. Photo Jona Lendering. Takht-e Rostam from the northeast. Photo Jona Lendering.
View from the southeast View from the northeast View from the northwest
Takht-e Rostam from the northeast. Photo Jona Lendering. Takht-e Rostam from the northeast. Photo Jona Lendering. Takht-e Rostam from the northeast. Photo Jona Lendering.
View from the southwest Hole of a metal fastening The platform itself
Takht-e Rostam from the northeast. Photo Jona Lendering.
Stones in the neighborhood
It appears that the structure was partly destroyed, because there are large stones next to it, suggesting that the building must have been taller. This may be an argument for the hypothesis that the tomb -if it was a tomb at all- was meant for Smerdis, the rebel who was king in the summer of 522.

As already indicated, the site is along the road from Naqš-i Rustam to Naqš-e Rajab, some five minutes west of the bridge. A satellite photo can be seen here.

Note

Cf. W. Henkelman, "An Elamite Memorial. The Šumar of Cambyses and Hystaspes" in: Achaemenid History 13 (2003) pp.101-172. That the tomb was found, was claimed in a press release by the Iranian Heritage Organization on 11 December 2006.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2009
Revision: 5 May 2013
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