The World Heritage of Persepolis
The Terrace of Persepolis is ascended by means of a grand double-flighted staircase situated towards the northwest corner of the platform. Here, just in front of the platform, and adjoining the terrace wall is an area measuring 10.5x7 meters, which is paved with huge well-polished blocks of gray limestone.
The palace which Xerxes built as his private residence on the terrace is twice the size of the Tachara of Darius, and is usually called the Hadish because it is so called in one of its inscriptions. It stood on a platform hewn from the natural bedrock 18m higher than the level of the plain and was ascended by four staircases: one from the Tachara courtyard, another from the court south of the Tripylon, and the remaining two from the west wing of the Harem.
This was a four-pillared hall constructed to the east of the landing place and some 22m away from the edge of the platform. Iranian dignitaries and representatives of other nations passed through this hall in order to be led to the Audience Palaces (the Apadana and the Hundred Column Hall) on the Terrace.
The Audience Palace of Darius and Xerxes, the Apadana, consisted of a main square hall with thirty-six columns, three porticos (each with twelve columns) on the north, west and east sides, and a series of storage and guardrooms on the south side. Four towers protected the four corners of the building.
This second largest palace of Persepolis is a magnificent structure located to the north of the Treasury and to the east of the Apadana courtyard. Built at a level 2m below that of the Apadana but 2m above that of the Treasury, the Hundred Column Hall had as its main feature a spacious square hall (68.50x68.50m),
The facade of the mutilated northern staircase of "Palace H " was sculptured with two antithetic files of sixteen "Persian " guards flanking an Old Persian inscription. The text was twice repeated on both ends of the sculptured facade.
Parallel to the northeastern corner of the Treasury, and 22m higher than its level, a deep well was cut into the rock of the Royal Hill. It has a depth of 26 meters and an opening measuring 4.70x4.70 meters. It was linked to a large moat which took the rainwater from the hill to the plain below the Terrace.
The «Unfinished Gate» and the «Archive» area. The former was intended to be a larger copy of the Gate of All Lands, and was to link the latter structure to the Hundred Column Hall via the «Army Street». Its construction however, was never completed, probably due to the invasion of the Macedonians.
To the east of the Hundred Column Hall was a building consisting of a vestibule and several chambers and porticos, and further north were a columned hall, several chambers, and storage rooms. These were in all probability built for the men-in-arms.
In the middle of Persepolis there is a rocky platform between the Apadana, the Tachara, the northern courtyard of the Hadish, and the Tripylon. A structure had once stood on this platform, but today only scattered remnants of it are seen. The original building has been named "Palace G ".
The fabled Treasury of Persepolis stood south of the Hundred Column Hall and east of the main wing of the Harem. It was constructed in several stages. One of the earliest buildings to have been built on the Terrace, the original Treasury measured 120x60m, and its long axis was aligned in a west-east orientation.
The ancient Iranians believed that fire, water, and earth were the holy creations of Ahuramazda, and must not, therefore, be polluted by any creations of Ahriman (Evil).
The center of Persepolis is occupied by the remains of a fairly small palace which is linked by means of three doorways and several passages to various other palaces. Hence, it is referred to as the «Central Palace», or often, as the «Tripylon» and less frequently, as the «King’s Gate».
The structures known collectively as the "Harem of Xerxes" form a complex with a plan resembling the capital letter L, with its angle pointing in a southeasterly direction. Of the two rectangular arms of the complex, one is located between the Treasury to the east and the Tripylon and the open area just described to the west.
Apart from the grand staircase, another entrance to the Terrace is known, which due to its remote and inconspicuous location could have served only as a service-gate. This was a small door situated near the northwestern corner of the platform where the rock was not hewn;
The Audience Palace of Darius is known as the Apadana. The term Apadana means a palatial building and has survived in Arabic afdan and Persian ayvan/ivan, but the modern ivan has a different shape, resembling a portico or a hall opened in one side and closed on three other sides. The Apadana of Persepolis covers an extensive area in the northwest of the Terrace.
One of the oldest and most interesting palaces of Persepolis is the charming structure built south of the Apadana and on a platform 2.20-3m higher than the level of the latter and the adjacent courtyard. In the inscriptions carved on its pillars, this palace is once called Tachara and another time Hadish.