In order to understand the different parts of the site of Persepolis, erected by the successors of Darius I, we must look at the Achaemenid dynasty, which liberated itself about 550 BC. AD of the Medes' tutelage, formerly their sovereigns, was the first of the Persian Empires and ruled for two centuries.


The Palace of Darius I: the Tachara

It was built on a square plan of 60,50 m side. It is composed of a central room with 72 columns of 20 m high, 13 of which are still standing, surrounded by smaller rooms. The central room is sometimes called "mirror room" because of the polished surface of its stones. It is a large square hypostyle hall with 36 columns arranged in six rows.

It is surrounded to the west, north, and east by three rectangular porticos each carried by twelve columns arranged in two rows.

They are decorated with large bas-reliefs of the King fighting a lion, a bull and a chimera, as well as servants bringing various objects.

The west and south staircases of the palace are decorated with bas-reliefs of guards and vassals with their offerings.

The southern part consists of a series of small rooms and its staircase leads to the unfinished palace of Artaxerxes III (358-338) and the palace of Xerxes I, the Hadish.

The palace was completed by Xerxes I (486-465).


In order to understand the different parts of the site of Persepolis, erected by the successors of Darius I, we must look at the Achaemenid dynasty, which liberated itself about 550 BC. AD of the Medes' tutelage, formerly their sovereigns, was the first of the Persian Empires and ruled for two centuries.

They are at the origin of several sites in the heart of their empire: Pasargades, Persepolis, Susa.

There are 4 kings who mingle there and one is "before Christ ... at the same time as the pharaohs of Egypt."
Artaxerxes III is a contemporary of Philip of Macedonia.

The Palace of Xerxes I (486-465) - The Hadish

Xerxes I was the king of Persia from -485 to -465. He is the son of Darius I.
He was assassinated in -465 in a conspiracy led by his minister Artaban. His son Artaxerxes succeeded him.

The palace of Xerxes I is situated to the south of the Tripylon (or audience hall of Xerxes I, or central palace) and is built on a similar plan to the Tachara of Darius I (522-486) ​​but twice as big.

"Hadish" is a word in old Persian on a trilingual inscription in four copies, on the portico and the staircase, it means "palace". It is the use of archaeologists to name this palace "Hadish", because the original name is not known.


The attribution to Xerxes I is certain as he had his name and titular engraving engraved not less than fourteen times. The entrance to the palace was made by a monumental staircase to the east, with two divergent flights and a smaller staircase with convergent flights to the west.

Both have the same decoration as the southern staircase of the Tachara: bulls and lions, Persian guards, a winged disc and a sphinx. It consisted of a central hall with 36 columns of stone and wood, of which nothing remains.

The lobby is surrounded to the west and east by small rooms and corridors, the doors of which are carved in relief. There are royal processions representing Xerxes I accompanied by servants who shelter him under an umbrella.

The south part of the palace is composed of apartments whose function is still very controversial today. Some scholars think that they served the Queen (hence the name of the harem of Xerxes, others consider them rather as stores, or annexes of the Treasury.

The tomb of Artaxerxes III (-425 - -338)

Situated a few dozen meters above the terrace, two tombs have been dug in the rock of the Kuh-e Rahmat and dominate the site. These tombs are attributed to Artaxerxes II (404-359) and Artaxerxes III (358-338).
These tombs, of the same shape as those of Naqsh-e-Rostam, are decorated on the exterior façade of bas-reliefs and surrounded by sculptures with colonnades representing palace facades, overhung with engravings.

On the bas-reliefs the King is represented supported by the 28 vanquished nations, before an altar of the sacred fire.
Above him are represented the winged symbols of the God Ahura-Mazda, the moon and the sun.

A wall has an inscription in three languages ​​that recalls that Darius I left a descendants and that he built the city of Persepolis. Entries also include a detailed list of their properties.


The tombs of other kings

Ctesias of Cnidus (Greek physician of Artaxerxes II, historian of Persia and India, died v.398) supposes that it was the custom for a king to prepare his own grave during his life.

To the south of the terrace, a third tomb, which is attributed to Darius III (336-330) has remained unfinished and is being restored. Other specialists attribute this tomb to Artaxerxes IV Arsès (338-336).

Another small group of ruins in the same style, possibly remnants of post-Achaemenid burials, lies to the north of the terrace in the village of Hajjiäbäd on the Pulvar River, a good hour's walk above the site of Takht-e Jamshid (Persepolis). It seems to form a single building, which was still intact 900 years ago and was used as a mosque in the city.

For the other kings of the dynasty, it is commonly accepted that:

Cyrus II the Great (559-529) was buried at Pasargades.
If there are some truths in the writings of the time, the burial place of Cambyses II (529-522) must be sought somewhere beside that of his father.

The kings who are practically sure that they are buried in Naqsh-e-Rostam are:
Darius I (522-486), Xerxes I (486-465), Artaxerxes I (465-424) and Darius II (423-404).



The destruction of Persepolis

The palaces were plundered and burned by Alexander the Great in 331-330 BC. In a gesture symbolizing the destruction of Persian imperial power. Although fired these ruins are still imposing and allowed a fairly complete reconstruction to its original appearance.