Experiences > Historical attractions > Middle East and North Africa > Ancient Persian Cities

Location: Iran


Persepolis was founded by Darius I in 518 BC as the ceremonial capital of his vast empire and it was one of the most impressive constructions of the ancient world. Darius built the terrace, the Apadana (great audience hall), the Tachana (palace) and the monumental staircases while his son, Xerxes, added the harem and the Hall of 100 columns. Persepolis was the setting for the Norouz New Year celebrations when delegations from all parts of the empire would come and pay tribute to the 'King of Kings', recorded in bas-reliefs on the staircase leading up to the Apadana. In 330 BC Alexander the Great burned the city to the ground. Although a shadow of its former self, Persepolis is the best-preserved monument of the Old Persian Empire.


Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great in the 6th century BC, preceding Persepolis of Darius I. The remains include the Mausoleum of Cyrus II, the fortified terrace of Tall-e Takht and a royal ensemble of gatehouse, audience hall, residential palace and gardens. Pasargadae was the capital of the first multicultural empire in western Asia where the cultural diversity of its different peoples were respected.

Travel to Ancient Persian Cities

Organised group tours: Click here to see 9 tours to Iran which may include Ancient Persian Cities.