Big Dipper above the Gate of All Nations

By: Amir H. Abolfath


Region: Middle East

Site: Persepolis - Iran

Date: August 2009

Stars of the Big Dipper (the seven bright stars of constellation Ursa Major) and bright star Arcturus in Bootes (left) are photographed above the ruins of Persepolis, a 2500-year old World Heritage Site of ancient Persian palaces and temples near Shiraz in southern Iran. Seen in this view is the Gate of all Nations, with a pair of Lamassus, bulls with the heads of bearded men, stand by to reflect the Empire’s power. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire during the Achaemenid dynasty. To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, which means "The City of Persians". Persepolis is the Greek interpretation of the name which means Persian city. At the height of its power, the Achaemenid Empire encompassed about 7.7 million square kilometers and spanned three continents, as far west as Libya to nearly all Middle East, and to Central Asia. The glory of Persepolis ended with invasion of Alexander's army in 330 BC through the Royal Road of Persian Empire. After several months of stay in the Persian City, Alexander allowed his troops to loot and burn Persepolis. Amir Abolfath -

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