A Day Exploring Persepolis and Necropolis

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

By this point, I think I have pretty well established that Shiraz is an undeniably beautiful city. However, two of the cities biggest attractions actually lie quite a few kilometres outside the city limits.

Naqsh-e Rustam (more commonly referred to as simply ‘Necropolis’) is an ancient necropolis located approximately 55km north-east of Shiraz.

necropolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

At this site you’ll find four ancient tombs cut into the side of a rocky cliff-face. One of these tombs is clearly marked and was the resting place of Darius I. The other three tombs are less clearly marked, but are believed to have belonged to Xerxes I, Ataxerxes I and Darius II.

necropolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

All four tombs were carved very high above the ground, and the entrance point for each tomb is at the centre of each cross.

Unfortunately, these tombs have long since been left empty. Initially, the sarcophagus holding each of these fallen Persian kings would have been located just inside each entrance, however, it is believed that these tombs have been empty since as early as the 4th century BC following the invasion of Alexander the Great.

necropolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

The site of Necropolis is on the smaller side, but despite this, it ended up being one of the most memorable things I saw whilst in Iran. I could have spent hours and hours gazing up at the facades and the reliefs carved into the rock – it is a pretty awe-inspiring sight.

necropolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

The opening hours of the site are 8am-6pm and entrance will set you back 100,000 rials – approximately $4 AUD. I recommend getting there as early as possible in the morning. I got there just after 8am and our minibus was the only one there, so our small group of travellers pretty much had the run of the place.

necropolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

necropolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

In addition to having the place to yourself, getting there early also means that you get the see the place in the early morning light – and if you are the kinda person who loves to take photos, believe me when I say that this lighting is worth its weight in gold.

necropolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

After visiting Necropolis, driving a further 12km south will bring you to one of Iran’s most famous attractions – Persepolis.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

Persepolis dates back as early as 515BC and was built to be the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Construction of this capital is believed to have been started by King Darius I.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking
Side note: If you are one of the people that has carved your name into these statues at some point over the years – let me just say, you are an absolute and undeniable twat.
persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

Now in ruins, this UNESCO World Heritage is one that you really need to see to understand and get a feel of. The area of the site is vast and seems to just keep going and going. It is pretty amazing to walk around and imagine how it would have looked in the 4th century.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

Persepolis stood in glory for a few hundred years, before it was destroyed in 330BC. Historians believe that after invading Persia in this year, Alexander the Great set his armies in force against Persepolis, who after a long and drawn out battle (potentially going on for as long as month) eventually came out victorious against the Persian army.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

Alexander the Great is said to have allowed his armies to loot the palace of Persepolis, and around that time, a fire broke out – damaging much of the palace.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

In modern day times, more of Persepolis is destroyed than not, but with a little imagination, it isn’t hard to picture how glorious the palace would have looked once upon a time.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

Persepolis is open to the public from 8am to 8pm and entrance will set you back 150,000 rials – approx $6 AUD.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

If you do plan to visit Persepolis and Necropolis, there are two ways you can do so.

The absolute cheapest way to visit these two sites is to find three other people to share a cab with, negotiate with a taxi driver ($20 USD for a half day trip is reasonable) and pay all your entrance fees independently. If you are absolutely on a budget, this is a way to see these two sites for around $15 USD.

However, despite this being a cheaper option, it isn’t the option I would recommend. I organised to go on a small minibus tour through my hotel – the Niyayesh Boutique Hotel. Costing $20 USD, this fee included all transport, all entrance fees and also a very informative tour guide. Usually I am not the biggest fan of tour guides, but if I had been without one, I would honestly have had no idea what I was looking at and the history behind it – so it is something that I would wholeheartedly recommend.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

There is so much to see and explore at Persepolis that you really could spend all day there, but make sure that you find the time to climb the little hill overlooking the ruins – it will give you some pretty amazing views!

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

Also, tucked a little further up the hill is yet another stone tomb. Looking much like those at the Necropolis but with far more detailed carvings, you won’t want to miss it.

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

persepolis-iran-shiraz-blog-travel-solo-backpacking

THE  LOWDOWN 

Getting to Shiraz: Turkish Airlines fly between Shiraz and Istanbul regularly
Niyayesh Boutique Hotel: A cheap hotel with a few mixed dorms, expect to pay around $12/night
Necropolis and Persepolis: A half day tour to both sites costs $20 USD
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Even if you visit in winter, be prepared for some serious sun exposure and pack sunscreen

Posted by

20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

58 thoughts on “A Day Exploring Persepolis and Necropolis

    1. I was actually at the Valley of the Kings a few months back! I think these two sites are a fair bit smaller, but they are certainly just as incredible!

  1. Man that looks fantastic. I am living vicariously on your trip to Iran as, having a USA passport I would be hard pressed to get a visa with the state of governments at this time. So sad it is all messed up. I have read other travelers blogs and reports saying the people are very friendly and the country is beautiful. Happy travels

    1. It certainly is not an ideal situation right now 😦 It is one of my favourite countries ever and such an intriguing place to explore. I hope the visa situation improves in the future.

  2. Oh oh Persepolis! Thank you, Ellen. I do not believe I have seen anyone else’s post on these beautiful places. The name Naqsh-e Rustam is so pretty. Also, a boutique hotel at such a cheap price! Here we come Shiraz.

      1. Wow, going to the states would be big! If you do end up moving to the US, I suggest visiting Iran first or you may not be allowed into Iran.

      2. Oh no, see this is the kind of shit I do not get. Orange top’s work I believe or was it in place from before? I have Iran on my list (oh Persia, Persia) and I love it a bit more because of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novels.

  3. Absolutely awesome. Loved the blog, just like your others. One thing really intrigues me is how you are managing the finances. If it is not too personal a question, I’d love to know ‘how do you do it’??? You have gone on to give so many details and nitty gritty stuff of your travels. Recently I went to the USA and foubd travel so expensive. So how do you manage it all? Best wishes and keep on taking us for our armchair travels with you!

      1. Thank you so much, yes you have answered my question very well. Today, is Midwife’s day. I’m sure you must be a very good one. You balance your work/travel balance very well, I must say. I’m sure you must be a very good midwife too. All the best wishes in whatever you do. Take care.

  4. Wow! I didn’t even know these places existed, but now they’re going on my bucket list, thanks for sharing!

  5. It is really odd to consider Iran having a tourist business. I guess this is why you’re doing good work in shining a light on them. From your previous post I think you said I’d struggle to get in now. I guess things aren’t going to get better there until we’re in a post-Trump world.

  6. Such a fabulous place, and it’d absolutely be worth at least a day of exploration. Some day, the ban on us Baha’is will come to an end, and I will see this marvel for myself.

  7. It reminds me of the book and a movie adapted from it called “Persepolis”. Its really nice ❀️

  8. I love reading your posts. When I get info about your new entry in my email I’m usually on the bus/train going to/from uni. It’s such a pleasure to read your posts and look at the pictures you take. Makes my commuting a bit more enjoyable. Your series from Iran is amazing ❀

    1. Thank you so so so much Anna – it is comments like these that give me the motivation to write (even on the days when I am not quite feeling it). I hope you enjoy all of the posts still to come in the Iran Series!

  9. Thank you for sharing about your trip to Iran. I’ve been following it closely! My father is from Iran, and it is a dream of mine to travel there with him. However, he is now an American citizen, so returning to the country poses some issues.

  10. Honestly, Iran is a place that I have never thought about visiting. But once again your post is one incredible. I had not really thought about the history there since high school. Thanks so much for the wonderful posts. You are my favorite blogger on WordPress.

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