Naqsh-e Rustam

The oldest relief at Naqsh-e Rustam dates back to c. 1000 BC. Four tombs belonging to Achaemenid kings are carved out of the rock face at a considerable height above the ground.  The entrance to each tomb is at the center of each cross, which opens onto to a small chamber, where the king lay in a sarcophagus. The horizontal beam of each of the tomb’s facades is believed to be a replica of a Persepolitan entrance.

One of the tombs is explicitly identified, by an accompanying inscription, as the tomb of Darius I (c. 522-486 BC). The other three tombs are believed to be those of Xerxes I (c. 486-465 BC), Artaxerxes I (c. 465-424 BC), and Darius II (c. 423-404 BC) respectively. The order of the tombs in Naqsh-e Rustam follows (left to right): Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I, Xerxes I.

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 (c. 336-330 BC), the last king of the Achaemenid Dynasts. The tombs were looted following the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire by Alexander the Great.

Ka’ba-ye Zartosht

Cube of Zoroaster, a cube-shaped construction in the foreground, against the backdrop of Naqsh-e Rustam Ka’ba-ye Zartosht (meaning the “Cube of Zoroaster”) is a 5th century BCE Achaemenid square tower. The structure is a copy of a sister building at Pasargadae, the “Prison of Solomon” (Zendān-e Solaymān).

It was built either by Darius I (r. 521–486 BCE) when he moved to Persepolis, by Artaxerxes II (r. 404–358 BCE) or Artaxerxes III (r. 358–338 BCE). The building at Pasargadae is a few decades older. The wall surrounding the tower dates to Sassanid times.Several theories exist regarding the purpose of the Ka’ba-ye Zartosht structure



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