The "Taghe Bostan" of Kermanshah is, after Persepolis and Pasargades de Fars, the place Naghshe Jahan of Isfahan, the fortress of Bam Kerman, the Throne of Soleiman of Azerbaijan, Gonbad-e-Soltanieh of Zanjan and the hill of Tchogha-Zanbil of Khuzestan, the eighth ancient monument of Iran inscribed on the Unesco register.


The "Taghe Bostan" of Kermanshah is, after Persepolis and Pasargades de Fars, the place Naghshe Jahan of Isfahan, the fortress of Bam Kerman, the Throne of Soleiman of Azerbaijan, Gonbad-e-Soltanieh of Zanjan and the hill of Tchogha-Zanbil of Khuzestan, the eighth ancient monument of Iran inscribed on the Unesco register.

Bisotoon, also transcript by "Bisetoon" or "Behisotoon", is the name of a rock overlooking one of the busiest roads of the Achaemenid era; a road that saw the caravans and military convoys of Babel and Baghdad passing through the mountains of Zagros and Hamedan. This rock is located 32 kilometers east of the town of Kermanshah, near a village also called Bisotoon. The parsi name of this mountain is "Baghestan" or "Bagestan" which means "Place of the Gods", and its Greek name is "Bogistanon" (Oroos). Arab geographers of the Middle Ages also call it "Behestoon" or "Behsotoon" which means "good columns".
Due to its geographically strategic position, this place has always been inhabited and many vestiges of cities dating from all historical epochs dot this region. Today, 28 ancient monuments located in the historical perimeter of this region of an area of ​​five kilometers long and three kilometers wide, have been registered in the list of national historic heritage. Most of these works date back to pre-Islamic times. They include among others:

- The Hunter's Cave, as well as that of Mar Kharal and Mar Dodar; Nader Hill, Bisotoon Mirage, Sarab Ancient Peripheral Road, Remains of Ancient Cemetery, Old Burial Fortress, Median Temple, Darius the Great Tablet, Hercules Statue, Low Relief of Mithridates the Second, the Parthian Temple, the remains of Sassanid monuments, and the Bisotoon Bridge.

The most famous and important monument of this region is the set including the bas-relief and the tablet of Darius the Great which dates from the first years of his reign. Describing these years according to the version of Darius himself, this tablet allowed archaeologists to better know the cuneiform writing of Persia of that time. It also gives us interesting information about the clothing, the physiognomy, the armament, the customs and the religion of the Achaemenid Persians who lived twenty-five centuries ago.

The tablet of Bisotoon - one of the oldest engravings of Persia - was carved from the rock by order of Darius, it remains the most complete engravings of the Achaemenid era. This and the bas-relief of Bisotoon were engraved on a rock steep, on the southern slope of the mountain Parv, several tens of meters above the ground. At first glance, we are entitled to think that twenty-five centuries ago, access to this place was to be particularly difficult and that no one would have chosen to erect this work. However, some peculiarities of the ground tend to prove that a passage had been built on the side of the mountain to facilitate access to artisans. Poorly preserved remains of steps and stepped rocks demonstrate the existence of a path, difficult to access, from the bottom to the top of the mountain; path that the craftsmen themselves destroyed later to preserve the inaccessibility of the place.

The fact that Darius chose this high rock to engrave his tablet - illegible when viewed from the ground with the naked eye - seems to indicate that it was not for his contemporaries that this great king had it cut, but for posterity. The carved works of Bisotoon are masterpieces of engraving, both in terms of the general architecture and the finesse of their realization. However, we do not know anything about the material used 2500 years ago by the craftsmen of King Darius, who allowed them to create these hard-wearing and refined works. Whenever the piece of rock we worked on broke, we would "pick" another perfectly identical piece from another part of the mountain to pick it up with delicacy and precision instead of the broken piece. Examples of these collages can be seen at the level of the bow of Darius and his companion, as well as in the headdress and hand of the king holding the Winged Ball (emblem of Persia and symbol of the Sun and Ahura Mazda). The most impressive part of the bas-relief, eight meters wide and one meter high, is the one featuring King Darius with the body of the Magus Gueoumat at his feet. Two of Darius's servants stand behind him, armed with spears and bows. We can also see nine rebels prisoners, hands and necks chained, lined up in front of the king. An emblem representing a Winged Sphere overcomes them all.

The engravings on the Bisotoon tablet or the Darius tablet are in three languages: the new Elamite, the ancient Persian and the Akkadic (the new Babelian). The inscription fills 1119 lines. A Pahlavi translation of this text has also been engraved on both sides of the tablet, and includes items 1 to 69 of the Persian text. In addition to this main shelf, other small tablets constellation the bas-relief. They include the names of the big rebels and extracts from the main tablet.

Copies of this large tablet were found in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The copy found in Mesopotamia, which also contains passages from the original text, is a stone tablet, while the copy found in Egypt on Fanetin Island is transcribed on a papyrus. It is also believed that many copies of this text would have been sent to all areas under Persian rule, both during the lifetime of Darius the Great and by his successors. Finally, it should be added that the Bostan Arch - which designate all these historic monuments - is built, as the name suggests, Bostan; a place that is not only the sacred territory of the ancient gods, but also a very beautiful region both in terms of its fauna and its flora. A must see place!