Friday, June 19, 2009

Travelogue: Iran : Shiraz (Persepolis)

29/05/09 : KL – Tehran – Shiraz

We took Iran Air (cost RM 2942 = KL-Tehran-KL + domestic flights to Esfahan and Shiraz). Their fleets are quite old, but we enjoyed our flight anyway :- ) Raph is a very chatty man, so we ended up taking pictures with the steward/ess(es), and one of them invited us to his home in Tehran. Iranians like to do this – they like to invite visitors to their homes. What a friendly lot!

We touched down Imam Khomeini airport around 3.45pm local time (Iran is 3.5 hours behind M’sia), then we were straightaway whisked to Mehrabad airport for our domestic flight to Shiraz at 9.20pm; it was quite a long wait. So I chatted up with Reza, who’s a student in Msia, quite a colourful character :- )

We arrived Shiraz close to midnight, and Raph’s friend – Hamed fetched us from the airport. Hamed has been offered a scholarship to pursue his pHD in Msia. I wish him all the best.

Btw, just as we came out of the airport, we saw people picnicking wherever there are patches of grass (didn't matter what time, midnight also can). Be it for picnicking, reading (they like to read, just about anywhere, literacy rate is very high at 98% , or just lying around. No one seemed to bat an eyelid. We found out it’s their favourite pastime. Such fun watching them : )

30/05/09 : Persepolis, Shiraz, Iran

After a hearty breakfast of nan (bread) and paneer (cheese), we met with our guide in Shiraz, Ms Saba Takavoli who is such a sweet lady. She could speak Russian too! She aspires to take up 7 languages, I admire her will : )
Dining hall

Our tour today covered Persepolis and Naksh-e-Rostam. Persepolis, or Persian City, (or Takht-e-Jamshid = Throne of Jamshid in Farsi) was the ceremonial capital of the Persian empire during the Achaemenid dynasty. The earliest remains of Persepolis date from around 515 BC. UNESCO declared the citadel of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979

Entrance only cost Iran Riyal 5000 (or RM1.80) It was really hot when we reached there –38C! This was our Kerja Gila #1 : climbing the ruins of the Achaemenid empire, built about 2500 years ago!

Cyrus the Great chose the site of Persepolis, but Darius the Great built the terrace and the great palaces. Darius ordered the construction of the Apadana Palace and the Council Hall (the Tripylon or three-gated hall), the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings. These were completed during the reign of his son, King Xerxes the Great. Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid dynasty.

It was a marvel to see their works and technology from an ancient civilization. They even had a treasury – or bank here. It’s probably the first bank in the world. The Achamenids later conquered the Mesopotamia empire in ancient Iraq (Tigris and Euphrates river) and even expanded their empire to Egypt. Here at Persepolis, they had a convention, an ancient United Nations convention where they had delegations from other nations.

Read more about Persepolis here


Cuneiform scripture

The Guards

Nurooz: Symbol of the New Year

the Apadana hall

Delegation from Egypt

Aksi! aksi! with Iranians

the Hadish

the Audience relief: put the tip your finger tips on your chin (sort of blowing a kiss, but w/o blowing) when seeking an audience with the King

the Treasury: probably the first bank in the world

the Homa

Farvahar: the Persian symbol

Tomb of Artaxerxes II & III

View from top

We sought respite from the sweltering heat with the delicious home made Iranian ice cream and Iranian slurpee. Slurp slurp indeed : ) We went into the souvenir shop for a while and saw that the staff there have blue eyes!

Iranians are descendants of the Aryan people. The term Aryan originates with the Indo Iranian self-designation arya, attested in the ancient texts of Hinduism (the Rigveda) and Zoroastrianism (the Avesta). The word Aryan was adopted to refer not only to the Indo-Iranian people, but also to native Indo-European speakers as a whole, including the Albanians, Armenians, Greeks, Latins and Germans. It was argued that all of their languages originated from a common root — now known as Proto-Indo-Europeans — spoken by an ancient people who must have been the original ancestors of the European, Iranian and Indo-Aryan peoples. The ethnic group composed of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and their modern descendants was termed the Aryans. That explains the blue eyes.

Anyway, we then proceeded to Naqsh-e-Rostam, but we didn’t go in, just took pictures from outside. It is the tombs of Darius I (r. 522-486 BCE), Xerxes I (r. 486-465 BCE), Artaxerxes I (r. 465-424 BCE) and Darius II (r. 423-404 BCE). A fifth unfinished one might be that of Artaxerxes III, who reigned at the longest two years, but is more likely that of Darius III (r. 336-330 BCE), last of the Achaemenid dynasts. The tombs were looted following the conquest of the Achaemenid empire by Alexander the Great.

Naqshe Rustam



Blogger Unknown said...


Next time when you travel I suggest Turkish Airlines' direct flights to Shiraz. Instead of going to Tehran and thence to Mehrabad, you can directly take Shiraz flight from Istanbul. The flights are starting on March 14, 2011 weekly 4 flights

5:56 AM  

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