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Achaemenid tombs

To the northeast and southeast of the platform, at a height of about 40 m above its level, two tombs are cut out of the rock. They are considered to be those of Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III, although no one knows which tomb belongs to which king. The layout and artistic treatment of the mausoleums are almost identical to the royal graves in Naqsh-e Rostam. The portal leads to the inside of the sepulcher and was once provided with a stone door, which, when closed, supposedly could not be reopened. Behind the entrance was a vestibule linking the chambers, inside which a stone coffin was cut out of the rock. The mummified corpse was placed in the coffin, together with articles intended to serve the king in the next world. The sepulcher to the right housed six sarcophagi, and the sepulcher to the left, had two. The chambers opposite the mausoleums were occupied by priests who served as guardians for the tombs and performed ceremonies for the souls of the deceased. After the fall of the Achaemenians, the tombs were broken and their treasures pilfered. The mummies too were destroyed.

Persepolis Achaemenid tombs

It is well worth climbing to the top of this hill to get an overall view of Persepolis. This should be done early in the morning during summer, or at any time during cooler seasons. From this vantage point, some visitors may want to look over the city to see whether there is something they may have missed on their first walk through it, so as to go back and take a look. Others may prefer to climb first to the tomb, and from there get an overview which will give a clearer understanding of the site as a whole before visiting individual areas.

Persepolis Achaemenid tombs

The unfinished crypt of Darius III is located to the south of Persepolis. It can be approached from the exterior of the platform by going south along the track, from which one can also appreciate the immense size of the terrace. The stone blocks are still only partially cut, and the face of the tomb is only outlined. However, the carvings of the king, the fire altar, and the moon are almost finished. The tomb of Darius III has been estimated to represent roughly three-four years' work.

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