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January 20    Scripture

Ancient Persia: Monuments
Temples, Tombs, Ziggurats, and other Monuments from the Ancient Persians

Darius Tomb Iran Naqsh-e Rostam. Tomb of Darius III, great cousin of Artaxerxes III, ruled Persia from 336 - 330BC untildefeated by Alexander the Great, and so becoming the last Achaemenid ruler.

Artaxerxes Tomb Persepolis - Tomb of Artaxerxes III. The tomb on this webpage (map #10) is usually attributed to Artaxerxes III, but may in fact be that of king Artaxerxes II Mnemon. If this sarcophagus indeed belonged to the third Artaxerxes, this room may also have served as last resting place of Artaxerxes IV Arses and Darius III Codomannus, because their never received a proper burial.

Bistun (Behistun) Inscription The Behistun Inscription (also Bisitun, Bistun or Bisutun, Modern Persian: ÈíÓÊæä ; Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning "the god's place or land") is located in the Kermanshah Province of Iran... The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. A British army officer, Henry Rawlinson, had the inscription transcribed in two parts, in 1835 and 1843. The text of the inscription is a statement by "Darius I" the great of Persia, written three times in three different scripts and languages: two languages side by side, Old Persian and Elamite, and Babylonian above them. Some time around 515 BC, he arranged for the inscription of a long tale of his accession in the face of the usurper Smerdis of Persia (and Darius' subsequent successful wars and suppressions of rebellion) to be inscribed into a cliff near the modern town of Bisistun, in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains of Iran.

Choghazanbil Choqa (or Chogha) Zanbil is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran. It is one of the few extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia. It was built about 1250 BCE by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honour the great god Inshushinak .The ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world. In 1979, Choqa Zanbil became the first Iranian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Temple of Anahita On the road traveling from Tehran toward the city of Kermanshah "Bakhtaran," one passes through the valley of Asad-abad. In small town of Kangavar, ruins of a majestic historic site start to appear right by the roadside. The site is known as the Temple of Anahita, built by Achaemenian Emperor Ardeshir II (Artaxerxes II), 404 BC to 359 BC.

The Large Choghazanbil Temple CHOGHÂZANBIL (A LARGE TEMPLE FOR GOD). The large Choghazanbil temple is one of the three ancient monuments in Iran which have been registered in the Index of World Heritage. The Elamites built this temple approximately 1250 BCE and it resembles the architecture employed in the Egyptian pyramids and Mayan temples.The king, his queen and the crown prince accompanied by his courtiers approach ziggurat mounted on royal chariots. While a large congregation of common people are watching the procession, they disembark from their chariots and enter the ziggurat precincts from the royal gate. Inside the ziggurat Shaten, the chief priest pours water on the king's hands by a pitcher. The ceremony commences with the musicians playing religious melodies by harp, lute and flute. The animals chosen for sacrifice are killed in 14 platforms built like short headless pyramids beside the temple of In-Shushinak. Then the king and his companions ascend to the second floor of the building by stairs. Here the king pours a special syrup on the altar for the intended god and accompanied by the chief priest and a small number of his attendants he ascends to the third floor. In the third floor some of his attendants remain and only the chief priest and his close associates ascend to the fourth floor. In this flour the close associates remain and the king, accompanied only by the chief priest, ascends the main temple of the ziggurat in the fifth floor.

Tomb of Cyrus This tomb of the great Persian ruler, Cyrus, was discovered in 1951 at the ruins of Pasargadae (south-central Iran). Over 2500 years old, the tomb is in decent condition, made of white limestone and stands a total of 36 feet high. The tomb itself is 18 feet high resting on a 6 level base, also 18 feet high. It was built like a Ziggurat with Ionian and Lydian features. There is a small entrance and double doors leading to a room with no windows which once contained the "golden sarcophagus" of Cyrus, it is now an empty shell. Five huge stones make up its roof, which was slanted (gabled) to shed heavy rains. These Nordic gables were the architectural style of lands far to the north. The inscription was seen and recorded by Plutarch in AD 90.

Verjuy Mithra Temple The Oldest Surviving Mithraist Temple in Iran. Maragheh is one of Iran's most ancient cities having its roots in legends. In the past, its suburbs were used to build temples belonging to the religion of Mithraism. One of the temples is located 4 kilometers south of Maragheh in Verjuy village. There were no signs indicating the location of the temple in the village or even at the entrance of the cemetery. Among other main Mithraism temples in Maragheh, we can refer to hand made caves of the observatory hill.

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