Persepolis was built by the Greeks and not by the Persians!

Hats off to the ancient Greek architects and stone workers.

At long last, honour is due. Persepolis was built by the Greeks and not by the Persians!

As an Iranian I too , under the influence of Pan Iranian and Persian pride, where patriotic and nationalistic feelings has blinded us, I realized a fact that there is no way Persepolis was built by the Persians.

Looking from a macro point, one can easily detect the stark similarities between the columns and statutes and the stonework of the majestic terraces and entry to the Apadana hall and the works done in ancient Greece palaces and stadiums and other monumental buildings of BC period can be spotted all over Greece, Macedonia and Italy. In contrast, one can not see any similar undertakings in major capital cities of ancient Persia. Had we known the trade, and had we were familiar with stone works and three dimensional carvings of stone, we would have built one in Ekbatan, one in Esfahan, one in Mashad, and most certainly had built a majestic stone carved palace in Tehran, the capital of today’s Iran for the past 240 years.

No statue carved out of solid stone is erected anywhere in the old Persia and today’s Iran while one can see them all over Europe. Stone carved statues grace public buildings and city squares and circles in Paris, Rom, Athens, Vienna, etc.

Persians have always worked with clay and tile works are our specialty. The illustrative and colourful tiles installed on mosques, and other public buildings seen all over Persia attests to that. In fact, three dimensional painting entered Iran a little over a century ago when Iranians learned shades and lights in our paintings from European artists. Any carving in stone was limited to inscription of words and images, a two dimensional work into flattened stones.

Alexander the great, when conquered Persia and freed Greece and Macedonia from the Persian rule, set the monumental Persepolis on fire and destroyed all the wood works but the stone works remained to gradually be destroyed by forces of nature.

Being able to overlook the false sense of national pride and truly looking into other works of arts and architectural achievements one can effortlessly realize that the Persians who ruled Greece and Macedonia for three hundred years brought the architects and stone workers from the said regions to built similar palaces in Persepolis near today’s Shiraz city in Fars (Pers) province of today’s Iran. Or to save time and effort, did most of the art works right there in Greece and ship them to Persia to be installed by their own skilled workers.

 My apologies to my dear fellow Iranians for having to “think outside of the box.”

Mohsen Shoja-Nia


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