The party at Persepolis is considered its swan song.
Cyrus the Great’s tomb is at nearby Pasargadae, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as is Persepolis. He came into a relationship with the kingdoms he had under him.
“On March 20, for the vernal equinox, the place was crowded with young people,” Karan says, as we stand before Cyrus the Great’s big limestone tomb at Pasargadae. “It shows what a place this man has in young Iranian hearts today. “His genius was to not be brutal to other cultures.” Wafting through the columns and ruins of the ancient Royal Complex of Persepolis are human stories, ancient and modern.
First lady Imelda Marcos was there for the Philippines.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Princess Anne represented Queen Elizabeth II, and Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck attended for Australia. The money could surely have been better spent on social needs in Iran, critics argued — ignoring its value in improving local infrastructure and presenting Iran to the world.
At Persepolis, a tent city was organised by a Parisian firm, inspired by the 1520 Field of the Cloth of Gold meeting between Henry VIII of England and French king Francis I.
The “tents” were, in fact, 50 luxury apartments cloaked in tent fabric.
When Alexander the Great reached and sacked Persepolis, he is said to have needed 3000 camels and mules to carry away its treasury’s contents.
At the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam, 12km away, are the rock tombs of Darius the Great and three other kings of the Achaemenid empire, high in a mountain side. He said that wherever Persian armies went, they shouldn’t destroy and plunder.
They had partial, thigh-high parapets which mostly hid the legs, adding to the perception, for those uninvited and watching from ground level, of these feted people floating; ascending to a higher plane.
That plane is the great platform of the Royal Complex of Persepolis, built by skilled workers about 500BC for Persian king Darius the Great.
Maxims of Paris provided the catering and Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1945 was served, as were 50 roasted peacocks.