UNESCO Iran – Must-See. Shiraz one of the must visit cities within Iran, was fabled for both its wine and poets. The city is still admired for its poetry, but no longer for its wine since Iran has banned all alcohol. An hour from Shiraz are two must see UNESCO World Heritage sites. One world famous, the other less so. Both sites should be required viewing for visitors to Iran.
Four ancient tombs are carved into a sand colored cliff. These tombs date back approximately 500 BC. Four great kings from the First Persian Empire (Achaemenid Empire) are buried in these tombs. At its height this empire stretched from current-day Balkans to the North Africa to Afghanistan and was founded by Cyrus the Great. The former emperors of Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I, Xerxes I, are resting in the tombs of Naqsh-e Rustam.
In addition to the tombs are seven large reliefs. The reliefs depict stories from the First Persian Empire, including wars and battles.
Standing guard in front of the tombs is the cube-like Ka’ba-ye Zartosht, meaning the “Cube of Zoroaster“. It dates back to the 5th century BC. The purpose of the cube is not known, but theories range as a place for an eternal flame or possibly to hold the resting rulers’ prized items.
There is a faint feel and look of Petra, but not nearly as impressive. Though if you are visiting its neighbor, Persepolis, it is a must visit.
Near Naqsh-e Rustam is its famed neighbor of Persepolis. Persepolis is another one of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a 60 km drive from the city of poets, Shiraz. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC).
Walking through this historical site requires a bit of imagination. You can grasp the magnificence of this former empire but today it is a shadow of its former ancient self. Alexander the Great laid waste to this empire in 330 BC.
Giant palace of yesteryear are now reduced to giant pillars. It will be an excellent opportunity to employ virtual reality, but for the time you must conjure your imagination.
One of the highlights of Persepolis is the ornate and detailed carvings and reliefs throughout the area. At the former palace of Darius the Great known as Apadana are scores of reliefs. Many ethnicities from the Medes to the Armenians are depicted. You can day dream of the peoples of the world paying their respects to the Emperors of the Achaemenid Empire.
UNESCO Iran – Must-See
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