Iran Diary: Day Sixteen-October 25, 2009

Shiraz > Persepolis > Shiraz

This morning I noticed that the fabric of my pillow was covered with images of the Disney character Mickey Mouse. In this trip I have seen images of American cartoon characters in many places. Perhaps these characters were introduced before the revolution and still retain their popularity.

Today we visited one of the highlights of this trip: Persepolis. It is about 40 miles north of Shiraz. This vast ruin, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located on a hillside on the edge of a fertile plain. It was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenian Empire (ca. 550-330 BCE) but was burned down by the soldiers of Alexander the Great perhaps during his drunken victory party. Even in ruin the remaining gigantic columns, statues, capitals and reliefs show the high degree of cultural and technical accomplishment attained by the advanced Achaemenian civilization.

The keen observation and amazing skill of the artisans who must have spent years to build this carving-filled palace is evident. Especially their depiction of animals and of the legendary griffins is remarkable. One of many treasures is a relief of a procession of subjects bearing gifts to the king from all over his empire. One of the gifts is a mother lion and her cubs. The distress and concern of the mother lion for her cubs are shown in the gaping of her mouth and turning of her neck as she looked back at them.   What a powerful description. I felt as if I could hear her sad roar echoing in the magnificent ruin from over 2,500 years.

Good morning Mickey and Minnie! おはよう ミッキーとミニー!

Persepolis-the ambassadors gate ペルセポリス—大使の門

A photo shoot-ladies in local nomads’ dress 写真撮影−この辺りの遊牧民のドレスを着た女性達

Griffin capital-a lion’s body with an eagle’s head グリフィン柱頭−獅子の体に鷲の頭

Only a fraction of this vast ruin 広大な遺跡のほんの一部

Zoroastrian symbol of the vernal equinox 拝火教の春分のシンボル

European tourists have left their marks ヨーロッパからの旅人が残した跡

A mother lion and her cubs 母ライオンと子供達

Achaemenian imperial tombs アケメネス朝の王達の墓

Tourists from Greece-Alexander’s successors ギリシャからの旅人—アレキサンダーの後継

The herbs in this appetizer I never had before or since. Fragrant and flavorful, it goes well with goat cheese and delicious flat bread アペタイザーに出た香草は始めてでその後も出会っていない。香り高く味がよく、ヤギのチーズと美味しい平たいパンと素晴らしく合う。

About YASUKO

She lives and works in a small beach community in Southern California with her spouse John. As an artist she has wandered around in several media (kimono painting, oil painting, drawing, installation, etc.) but has settled down to photography for the last six years. She also wanders around different countries, regions, and cultures to see life from many different angles. She has started this blog with not-so-good English, rusty Japanese and a lot of guts.
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