Planets above Behistun (Bistun)

By: Babak A. Tafreshi


Region: Middle East

Site: Behistun - Iran

Date: June 2010

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In the evening twilight sky of western Iran, Mars and bright star Regulus are imaged while in conjunction. Further left is planet Saturn. The important 2500-year old bas-relief and inscription of Behistun (Bistun) is pictured in the foreground. Click on the star-pattern icon above the image to see the bas-relief in a close-up day-time photo. The World Heritage Site of Bistun near Kermanshah of Iran is located along the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and features various remains including this 2500-year old bas-relief and cuneiform inscription at a very inaccessible cliff 100m above ground level. It is ordered by Darius I, The Great, when he rose to the throne of the Persian Empire, 521 BC. The bas-relief portrays Darius (in life size) holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty, and treading on the chest of a figure who lies on his back before him. It also shows 10 smaller figures representing defeated enemies. 1,200 lines of inscriptions telling the story of the Darius battles against the governors who attempted to take apart the Empire. The inscription is written in three ancient languages and it is approximately 25m wide. Babak Tafreshi/

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