The World Heritage Listed centre of the great Persian Empire, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenians and the showpiece of Achaemenian art, Persepolis (Capital of Persia in Greek) is a historic site in Fars Province, 60 km to the northeast of Shiraz. Iranians call it Takht-e Jamshid (throne of Jamshid), Jamshid being the first, probably mythical, ruler of Iran. This magnificent court was the summer residence of the Achaemenian emperors and their official reception quarters. It must be by some strange accident of history that Persepolis was never mentioned in foreign records, for it was here that representatives of all the varied peoples of the empire gathered to pay homage, and bring tribute, to the King of Kings, probably each spring, at the time of the ancient Nowruz festival. Although set on fire and destroyed by Alexander the Great in a gesture symbolizing the destruction of Persian imperial power, its still impressive ruins permit a fairly complete reconstruction of its original appearance.
- 1 Ticket office, ☏ . 08:00 - 18:30. They require everybody to deposit their backpacks and big bags to the luggage room. Besides, there is a demonstration room where they show introductory video on the Persepolis history. Foreigners pay 200,000 rials.
There is no public transport going to Persepolis. The closest city reachable by public bus is Marvdasht, 14 km away from Persepolis, from there one need to charter a taxi to the sight. The main highway bypasses Marvdasht and Persepolis and thus all long-distance buses circumvent them.
By bus: minibuses (45000 rials) or a shared taxi (80000 rials) going to Marvdasht can be found at Ali Ibn Hamze Terminal in Shiraz. Besides, almost all of them make a stop or start their way from the bus stop near Qur'an Gate in Shiraz.
There is an anecdotal information that buses stop going from Marvdasht to Shiraz somewhere in the afternoon.
- 1 Marvdasht taxi stand. This is the place where minibuses from Shiraz will terminate and drop off passengers. Taxi to Persepolis from there costs 100,000 rials for the car.
- 2 Persepolis taxi stand. Dozen of taxis stay there. They seem to offer fixed price rides: 100,000 rials to Marvdasht or 350,000 rials to Shiraz for the whole car.
By taxi tour: taxis can be hired for a half day tour to Persepolis (including visits to Naqsh-e Rustam and Naghsh-e-Rajab sights) for US$30 from Shiraz. Full day tour that would additionally include Pasargad costs US$50. (Prices as of Nov. 2019.)
See & do
- 1 The Great Staircase.
- 2 Gate of All Nations.
- 3 Apadana Palace (Persian: آپادانا).
- 4 Tachara Palace. The palace of Darius.
- 5 Hadish Palace. The palace of Xerxes.
- 6 Treasury.
- 7 Throne Hall.
- 8 Military areas.
- 9 The rock-hewn tomb of Artexerxes II.
- 10 The rock-hewn tomb of Artexerxes III.
- 11 Persepolis Museum (Harem). Exhibits some of the findings found in Persepolis and around areas. 200,000 rials (additional to the Persepolis entrance fee).
You can hire a guide for 400,000 - 600,000 rials. Ask for the licence. The guide will take you around for 2-3 hr and will give you a great value of information (there are almost no descriptions).
- 12 Naqsh-e Rustam (12 km northwest of Persepolis). 08:00-18:00. An ancient necropolis with a group of ancient Iranian rock reliefs cut into the cliff, from both the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods. If you get in, you can read the explanation boards. Photos of the rocks can be taken from outside. Close-by located Ka'ba-ye Zartosht (meaning the "Cube of Zoroaster") is a 5th century BCE Achaemenid square tower. 200,000 rials.
- 13 Naghsh-e-Rajab (12 km north of Persepolis). 08:00-18:00. The site of four limestone rockface inscriptions and rock-cut bas-reliefs that date to the early Sassanid era. It is rather small. 80,000 rials.
- 14 Istakhr (5 km north of Persepolis). It was a prosperous city under the Sasanian Empire and briefly served as its capital from 224 to 226 CE. Nowadays there is almost nothing left except for scattered around ancient columns.
Souvenirs can be bought at the ticket office building, and also in kiosks near fast food stalls before the entrance to the sight.
Eat & drink
Apart from the cafes mentioned below there is a restaurant in Apadana Hotel. Other eating options are located in the nearest Mahdieh town (4 km away) and Marvdasht city (14 km away). Note that you will leave your bags at the entrance and that food is not allowed inside.
- 1 Persepolis coffee shop, behind Persepolis museum. Smallish cafe selling soft drinks, brewed coffee, simple snacks. Iced coffee: ask for milk.
- 2 Fast food stalls. Simple fast food joints. Falafel bread 50,000 rials, hamburger 85,000 rials.
- 1 Apadana Hotel, right next to the entrance to Persepolis, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 Persepolis Tourist Hotel, Persepolis street (about 2 km from Persepolis).