Exploring the great Persepolis
Approximately 60km away from Shiraz lies Persepolis, the centre of the great Persian Empire that was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. One of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, it is one of the things you’d have to see when you visit Iran. There is a lot of history here and being able to explore around the ruins and witness the massive scale of this ancient city was just so surreal. On the way towards Persepolis, we stopped by Naqsh-e Rustam. This site is basically where you can see four tombs belonging to Achaemenid kings, all carved out of the rock face at a considerable height above the ground. It was massive and pretty epic, but in my opinion it wasn’t really the admission fee since you could see it from afar, but I figured it was actually quite worth the short detour since we’re in the area and the driver was willing to take us there and to Persepolis at the same cost.
Persepolis, on the other hand was just amazing. It felt as though I was taken back in time even if all that’s left of the empire are now ruins. I’ve been to many ruins around Southeast Asia but none of them can compare to this. There was a lot of preservations on the details and carvings on the pillars, walls and stones, all of which have different symbolisms and stories to tell.
TIP: Be sure to bring a hat/sufficient water and maybe some food. There are no stores around and luckily I packed some bread, eggs and carrot jam to munch on.
HOW TO GET THERE: Getting there is easy if you just book a tour through the guesthouse/inn/hostel. But it was also overpriced so we thought we’d just take the local bus, then a taxi after. This was a cheaper option as we had 3 people to split the cost. I also like taking the local buses because it’s always an interesting experience meeting the locals, they love talking to tourists so much! On the return journey, I sat at the back of the bus with a bunch of school girls and we had such a good conversation!
The route: Shiraz > Marvdasht> Naqsh-e Rustam > Persepolis> Marvdasht > Shiraz
Directions fromÂ the Lonely Planet guidebook: Take a minibus (IR4000, 42km, hourly) or savari (IR8000, or IR40, 000 for the whole car to Persepolis) from the southern edge of Carandish Terminal to Marvdasht, where they stop at Basij Sq. From here you should be able to find a shuttle taxi (IR3000, 12km) or private taxi (IR15, 000) to Persepolis. Alternatively, drivers in Marvdasht told us they would go first to Persepolis and Naqshe-e Rostam, then back to Shiraz for IR120, 000, including a couple of hours waiting time. Returning from the site, there are always plenty of vehicles lurking outside the entrance (about IR80, 000 per car to Shiraz), or try hitching.
Persepolis admission fee: 150,000 IRR (Tourists have to pay a lot more than locals, almost 30x)