Persepolis is a must-do once you’re in Shiraz. My friend Küç, who has no interest whatsoever in tourist attractions, says she went there just because everyone was permanently asking her if she had been there or not. I went there on a rather gloomy day with two co-couchsurfers, Fulvia and Arun. We dozed off in a local bus, then in a taxi for the last bit. I was not excited, but curious. For French people, Persepolis is first of all the name of a great comic book by Marjane Satrapi about the Iranian revolution. It was later well adapted into an animated film. So what was the real Persepolis like?
The pictures won’t tell you much I’m afraid. I wasn’t in a very picturesque mode that day. And everything there was too huge for my camera anyway. But I was having a good time with my new friends, chatting the visit away, discussing how on earth the builders could have cut and lifted such huge stones, centuries before Christ (the construction started in -521) – did they have access to some magical technology that we have lost since then or was it all sweat, strong ropes and smart engineering?
The boards were also in English but as usual, the information displayed was mostly the dimension of this or that stone – boring. At the entrance, one of them was explaining that the low steps of the big double staircase were cut in this fashion so that it wouldn’t impede the dignified walk of the aristocratic women in their beautiful dresses. So we tried for ourselves the dignified staircase walk and discussed what one should do with their hands on such occasion (what a busy day we had ).
Somehow I got into my head that Persepolis was a secret party city built without anyone knowing – anyone but the thousands and thousands of workers it took to build it, which doesn’t make sense. Oh, a secret party for celebrating the New Year, that’s what Persepolis was. “Hey buddy, where do we celebrate New Year this time? – I dunno, why don’t we build a new city to have a big party? – Yeah cool, let’s get started, I’ll get my best architects on the project. We’ve got the latest technologies, we will be finished in no time, less than two centuries, Gods permit!”. More than two centuries, that’s how long it actually took to build Persepolis. Then Alexander came, rather angry, and destroyed it.
If those last two sentences are true, I very much doubt the party-city-story stands a chance against History. But I liked the idea .