Naqsh-e Rostam (Shiraz)
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Naqsh-e Rostam
A pre-Achaemenian, Achaemenian and Sassanian Persian holy archaeological site 7 km northwest of Persepolis, Ne Rostam is a sort of "Valley of Kings", dominated by tall ocher-colored cliffs, cracked and wrinkled by the wind through the ages. The Achaemenian and Sassanian kings were forgotten in Islamic times and no mention of the Achaemenian kings is made by Ferdowsi in his Shahnameh. Popular superstition linked the rock carvings to the popular hero Rostam, who was so strong that no feat was beyond him. Naqsh-e Rostam means literally the Picture of Rostam.
On the mountain side in Naqsh-e Rostam, the Achaemenian necropolis consists of four hypogea, or rock tombs cut into the cliff sides. These date from the 5th and 4th centuries BC and the most famous is the tomb of Darius I the Great (reigned 552- 486 BC). From left to right the four rock tombs cut high into the Kuh-e Hossein are dedicated to Artaxerxes I, Darius the Great, Xerxes, Darius II. Visitors now have access to the earliest, that of Darius I, though the hieratic solemnity of the tombs demands that they be seen only from afar.

Darius was the first King who chose the site of his tomb, having it carved out of the solid rock face here.. All the tombs are uniform in plan (in the form of a cross) following the pattern laid down by Darius before his death.
His tomb, clearly modeled on the buildings at Persepolis and Susa, as a concession to the Egyptian spirit of satrapy (after the conquest and subjugation of Egypt by him), and similar to former in its portico, columns, capitals and other details, served as the prototype for the later Achaemenian tombs cut into the same rocks facing the rising sun, corresponding to the west bank of the Nile.
In the tomb of Dariusthe Great, there is a long inscription in cuneiform script, the main part of which is in adoration of Ahura. Mazda, the remainder giving an account of the religious and moral beliefs of Darius the Great.
In all the tombs there can be seen the Achaemenian kihg's figure, seated on the throne, in the state of adoration. Behind him stand the king's closer courtiers, and the throne is borne by the representatives of the vanquished nations, who bear it upon their hands and shoulders. Facing the king, carvings representing Foruhar (or Farvahar) and the sacred fire are to be seen.




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