Persepolis is an amazing vision and one has to imagine what it must have looked like before Alexander the Great buried most of it to the ground. There are many theories Alexander did this despite the fact that he did admire Cyrus the Great and didn’t destroy his burial grounds. He even went so far to find out who looted Cyrus’ tomb and even rebuilt parts that had been destroyed by thieves. Maybe he taking order and was acting in revenge since Xerxes did invade and destroy much of Greece – including Athens. Xerxes did complete his father Darius’ grand palaces, Treasury and gates at Persepolis. Other accounts say that it wasn’t planned but an unfortunate accident caused by overzealous and very drunk soldiers and entertainers. Historian Diodorus Siculus (90-21 BCE) who gives the following account of the destruction of the city:
“Alexander held games to celebrate his victories; he offered magnificent sacrifices to the gods and entertained his friends lavishly. One day when the Companions were feasting, and intoxication was growing as the drinking went on, a violent madness took hold of these drunken men. One of the women presents, Thais, the Athenian lover of the Macedonian commander Ptolemy, declared that it would be Alexander’s greatest achievement in Asia to join in their procession and set fire to the royal palace, allowing women’s hands to destroy in an instant what had been the pride of the Persians.”
Today there’s very little left but still what remains is a small slice of one of the grandest cities of the Persian Empire. Here’s a link to a great site which puts all the pieces together in 3-D renderings of what Persepolis did look like before it fell.
Here’s some more pictures of what remains today: