Fas­ci­na­tion for Perse­po­lis

Ri­jksmu­seum van Oud­he­den, Rapen­burg 28, Lei­den, the Nether­lands Show­ing from: 20 Oc­to­ber 2017 – 25 March 2018

Timeless Travels Magazine - - EXHIBITION FOCUS -

Run­ning con­cur­rently with Nin­eveh: Heart of an an­cient em­pire is a small ex­hi­bi­tion,

Fas­ci­na­tion for Perse­po­lis. The city, known to the Greeks of Dar­ius’ time (522-486 BC) as Perse­po­lis, ‘city of the Per­sians’, is re­garded as one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites from the an­cient world.

The ruins of the Per­sian palace com­plex in the south of Iran still strike vis­i­tors with awe. Many peo­ple are filled with a sense of his­tory when they first see the huge di­men­sions and beauty of th­ese mon­u­ments, ris­ing from the Marv­dasht Plain.

Since the 14th cen­tury, many Euro­peans have felt com­pelled to travel to dis­tant Iran and cap­ture th­ese struc­tures in words, draw­ings, and pho­to­graphs. Their ac­counts pro­vide com­pelling in­sights into the en­dur­ing fas­ci­na­tion with this an­cient site.

The Fas­ci­na­tion for Perse­po­lis ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cuses on the writ­ings, draw­ings, en­grav­ings, pho­to­graphs and ob­jects of the Euro­pean trav­ellers, pho­tog­ra­phers, and ar­chae­ol­o­gists who vis­ited Perse­po­lis through the cen­turies. It cov­ers the pe­riod up to the first ex­ca­va­tions in 1931 and also in­cludes the sto­ries of an Ira­nian fam­ily that lived near the an­cient city for gen­er­a­tions. The im­pres­sive mon­u­ments and sculp­tures still in­spire many vis­i­tors to­day.

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Perse­po­lis stands on a large, rec­tan­gu­lar ter­raced plat­form with three lev­els, partly carved out of solid rock. Most of the palace com­plex was built dur­ing the reigns of Dar­ius I (522-486 BC) and Xerxes I (483-465 BC), although ad­di­tional build­ing took place un­der later kings.

The site was used mainly as a cer­e­mo­nial lo­ca­tion. Dur­ing the Per­sian New Year (Norouz) – still cel­e­brated in Iran around 21 March – del­e­ga­tions from the em­pire’s many na­tions vis­ited the king and paid ho­mage to him with gifts.

The com­plex as a whole is re­garded as a crown jewel of Per­sian ar­chi­tec­ture, but it also dis­plays artis­tic styles and tech­niques from other cul­tures, like those of an­cient Egypt, Assyria, Asia Mi­nor and Greece.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Ri­jksmu­seum van Oud­he­den, Lei­den see http://www.rmo.nl

Above: De Bruijn, Fourth view of Perse­po­lis, from Trav­el­lingto Mos­cow,byPer­sia andIn­dia, 1711, no. 120.

Right: Por­trait of Dr. Ernst Herzfeld, Field Di­rec­tor of the OI, Uni­ver­sity of Chicago, pho­tographed in front of Perse­po­lis re­liefs by James Henry Breasted Jr. Feb 23, 1933

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