“So, what made you choose to go to the devil instead of Heaven?”
I was greeted by a smile under dark sunnies with such query.
“Excuse me? I didn’t get you.”
“What brings you to Shiraz? Hi, My name is Ivan, and she’s Sabina.”
“What brought me here? Probably the same reason why you’re here. Hello, My name’s Gelo. I’m from the Philippines, but I live in Dubai. And you?”
“Ahhhh… We’re Austrians.”
“From where, Vienna?”
“I’ve been there. Your city’s too lovely, but so expensive.”
Following an atypical pleasantries while we’re walking towards the car, I finally met my random road trip companions for the day. They’re a young couple from Austria who were also staying in the same traditional guesthouse where I checked in. Thankfully, Amin, the receptionist of Parhami Guesthouse in Shiraz was able to arrange a half-day tour for me, Ivan and Sabina a day before our trip. For 45USD (for the cost of transportation+driver only, excluding tour-guiding and admission tickets; of which my share was only USD15), we availed the services of an English-speaking local driver who took us to Necropolis and Persepolis; both itineraries were about an hour-drive from Shiraz.
We left Shiraz at 9:30AM and arrived an hour after in Necropolis.
- Necropolis or Naqsh-e Rustam نقش رستم
- Where? About 60 km from Shiraz; located 12 km northwest of Persepolis.
- Why go? Visiting tombs of kings that were built prior 500BC is something for the books! It’s like a day in your World History Class come-to-life!
- How much? Entrance fee : 150,000 Iranian Rials (or 4.60 USD at the time of visit last February 2017).
- What? Ancient reliefs carved on massive rock in a cliff where tombs of kings from Achaemenid Empire (before 500BC) are identified (tomb of Darius I, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II).
- Tips? Take chilled bottle of at least 1 liter distilled water with you. Spend at least 45 minutes to an hour in Necropolis, and you’ll be fine. You can thank me later. *wink*
After visiting the tombs of Achaemenid kings, we trooped to the ruins of the ancient city they built during their glorious years. About 5 minute-drive or 12km-away from Necropolis, is Persepolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Persepolis or Takht-e-Jamshid تخت جمشيد
- What? The ruins of ancient ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC) founded by Darius I.
- Where? located about 60 km northeast of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran
- Why go? Visiting another relevant UNESCO World Heritage Site (inscribed in 1979) makes you more appreciative of the glorious world history, and makes you a bit cultured and a better person after the trip. *wink*
- How much? Entrance fee : 200,000 Iranian Rials (or 6.10USD as of visit last February 2017).
- Areas within the ancient ruins of the vast city of Persepolis :
- Gate of All Nations or Gate of Xerxes
- Throne Hall
- Palace of Darius
- Council Hall
- Artaxerxes tomb
- Palace of Xerxes
- Harem of Xerxes
- What’s not to miss?
- Gate of All Nations where 2 lamassus stood proudly over time. Lamassus are bulls with head of a bearded man. It was said that carving of bull-men was adopted by Persians from Babylonia and Assyria with the purpose of warding off evil.
- Homa or the eagle-griffin birds that are regarded as as auspicious in Persian tradition, hence it was adopted as the present-day symbol of Iranian national airline.
- Bas reliefs particularly those carved in the grand stairs, representing symbolic of Zoroastrianism which is one of the world’s oldest religions; founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in ancient Iran about 3500 years ago.
- Tips? Give yourself a minimum of 2 hours inside Persepolis and ask your driver to pick you up at a particular site near the gate. Take a chilled bottle of distilled water with you, although there are cafes that sell cold drinks after the gates of Persepolis.
The Gate of All Nations from the Apadana.
Lamassus. Bulls with head of bearded men at the Gate of All Nations.
Eagle-griffin (Homa) capitals. Homa, regarded as auspicious bird in Iranian tradition.
Home bird, adopted as symbol of Iranian national airlines.
The Hundred Column Hall.
Faravahar, a relief of winged sun symbol of Zoroastrianism.
Fighting bull (personifying the moon), and a lion (personifying the sun).
Ruins of Palace of Darius the Great.
Twinning with my travel buddy, @gelothebear. Follow us on IG :
Stay tuned for a few more blog posts about my trip to Iran.
Have you been to Necropolis and Persepolis? How was your experience?