Editor’s Note: These photographs may look old-fashioned now, but when we first started posting photos most images were scanned in from film negatives, and the resolution on the internet was very poor. Images needed to be only a few kilobytes so that you could download them with a phone modem; now they are thousands of times bigger.
I had the opportunity to make two trips to Iran (once each in ’98 and ’99). Even after an absence of nearly two decades, both trips are extremely memorable. I spent much of the time in Iran travelling and taking pictures. Here is a sampling of these pictures.
Ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil (Ancient Dur Untash). Elamite, circa 1250 BC. Built by Untash Gal, a powerful Middle Elamite ruler, the site of Chogha Zanbil is about a forty minutes drive from the great site of Susa (biblical Shushan) in south-western Iran.
Royal Square, early 17th century, Isfahan. Shah Abbas’s architectural masterpiece is among the loveliest and best-known building complexes in Iran.
View of the Royal Mosque, Isfahan, 1612-1638 AD. I have often wondered if there is an experience more blissful than spending an evening in a “traditional” tea house near the entrance to the qaisariyeh (Ceasar’s) bazaar, sipping tea and watching the sky darken as the minarets and the great dome of the Royal Mosque become illuminated by floodlights.
Ka’ba of Zardusht (Zoroaster), Naqsh-i Rustam, Achaemenid, circa fifth century BC. Based on an earlier building at the royal city of Pasargadae the purpose of this enigmatic building is not known. In inscriptions, it is referred to as a “foundation house.”
Victory relief of Shapur I, Naqsh-i Rustam, third century AD. This relief hearkens to decisive Iranian victories over the Romans in Mesopotamia.
Tomb of Hafez, the great 14th century poet. Shiraz, known as “the city of roses and nightingales,” is the resting place of Iran’s most beloved poet.
Griffin-headed capital, Parsa (Persepolis). The royal site of Parsa was founded by Darius the Great (522-485 BC).
Hall of One Hundred Columns, Parsa (Persepolis). This grand audience hall was built by Darius’s successor, Xerxes.
The Apadana, Parsa (Persepolis). The audience hall of Darius the Great is widely regarded as one of the noblest monuments from ancient Iran. Two monumental staircases (to the north and the east of the hall) depict twenty-three delegations from various regions of the empire — each in local costume — bearing gifts for the great king.
Palace of Darius the Great, Parsa.
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