Persian Archeological Sites: Persepolis & Nineveh

If you are interested in learning more about the ancient Persian Empire, it is important to become familiar with the archeological sites associated with the region. In this article, you will encounter some of the places to put on an itinerary if you’d like to go back into time and explore the past of the Persian Empire.

When the Persian Empire was at its height around 500 BC, the cities and towns under the rule of the Achmaenids were spread across Asia , reaching as far as the Indus River, Greece, and North Africa. The region also included the lands that we now call Egypt and Libya. To come closer to the cities that belonged to the past of the Persian Empire, consider the following destinations:
Persepolis (Iran)

A visit to Persepolis brings you to an archaeological ruin that was once part of the Achaemenid Dynasty of the Persian Empire. It was one of the cities that King Darius established and served as ceremonial capital of the Empire from roughly 550 to 330 BC. Archeologists have identified the earliest remains of Persepolis as dating from around 515 BC. During ancient Persian times, the city was referred to as Parsa, which translates into “The City of Persians”. In 1979, the citadel of Persepolis was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

When you encounter the ruins, you will find a handful of colossal buildings positioned on the terrace. The structures are comprised of dark gray marble. Still intact, you can identify 15 pillars. Three additional pillars were re-erected since 1970. Several of the buildings were never completed but are still a sight to see.

Nineveh (Iraq)

The ancient city called Nineveh was located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River during ancient Assyrian times. At one point, it served as the capital city of the Assyrian empire. The ruins of the city are situated across the river from what is now known as Mosul in Iraq.

Around 700 BC, Sennacherib made strides in uplifting the city. Because of him, the city enjoyed the construction of new streets and squares. It is here that the revered “palace without a rival” was built. Cuneiform tablets uncovered in the palace shed light on the architecture and history of the site. Sennacherib was the crown prince who ruled over the Assyrian Empire while his father, Sargon II, was on campaign.

Today, two large mounds (including Kouyunjik) mark the ancient city with remains of the city walls. The Neo-Assyrian levels of Kouyunjik have been extensively studied, but the other mound has not been touched because there is a Muslim shrine dedicated to the prophet on the site.