However, as its northern stairway is ornamented with sculptured figures of the nobles of the empire who proceed informally and with a friendly air towards the hall of the palace, some have given the building the name «Council Hall». In this book, the descriptive and simple designations Central Palace and Tripylon are usually preferred.
The Central Palace was completed by Artaxerxes I on a platform 2.60m higher than the level of the court of the Apadana. It is ascended from that court by means of a sculptured stairway with two corresponding flights, which gives access to a portico. A doorway in the southern wall of the portico leads into a square hall which measures 15.46m on each side. The hall has two more doorways: one in the south and another in the east wall.
The southern doorway opens into another portico and through this into a small courtyard. The latter was originally connected to a number of storage and guardrooms on the west and by means of a small stairway to the area east of the Hadish (Palace of Xerxes). The eastern part of the Central Palace was entirely destroyed, but it was assumed that it had two rooms flanking a long corridor which linked the main hall to the Harem and to the Hundred Column Hall. In 1977-78 we restored part of the eastern area in order to stop further erosions in that sector. Let us now proceed with a description of the main features of the Central Palace.