10.24.2017

A month in Iran: reportage 15: Persepolis, Pasargadae and Naqsh-e Rustam

Image may contain: flower, plant, sky, outdoor and natureI rememeber well the day I saw the Euphrates river. I was taking part in a political event in support of the Kurdish Communist Party against the Turskish military regime. It was 1997. We had been traveling by bus night and day from Instabul toward Diyarbakyr, trying to join a Newroz demonstration finished in a bloodshed. 
Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoorWe were crossing the country and I was glued to the window. Sometimes we stopped to talk from the roof ot the buses to huge crowds of militant asking for a free, multicultural and socialist Turkey. We were social activists, parties and unions' militants from many countries of the world, and there were also some deputees from different national Parliaments. We were acting as willing shield for our Kurdish comrades because the Turkish police would attack and put us in jail maybe but they were riskying their lives. Indeed we got stopped by a tank on the way from Gazantiep, arrested and brought back to Instabul. 
Image may contain: sky and outdoorBut that dawn was all rosy, I opened my eyes and saw the river, rammed earth houses on its sides, soft green trees... Pater Euphrates! the river of my childhood school books! I was ecstatic.
Image may contain: sky and outdoorThe tomb of Cirus in Pasargadae is just the same. I'm standing here in front of it, reverently. It was in my school Art book, taking all the page. Solitary. On a desert background. In a deep silence talking of millennials, neverending instant of nothing. 
No automatic alt text available.But the sun is high. Our day started in Persepolis, majestic rest of the Persian Empire. We went there in the early morning but the heat was already dazing. Not a tree, not a shadow, hieratic ruins in a desolated dusty mountain. Some of them look so familiar... 
Image may contain: sky and outdoorA visit to Persepolis requires good trekking boots, a good hat or scarf, a bottle to be filled with icy water by the several water distributors. Suncream also if your skin is white (I have not got this problem) especially if you dare to climb to Artaxerxes II tomb. 
Image may contain: sky and outdoorPersepoli was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC), not a city not a necropolis. Here Zoroastrian rites were held and public cerimonies involving the Grand King and the Governors of his many provinces. It's scarcely a human place.
Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, hat, outdoor and closeupThe most of the Persian kings are buried in Naqsh-e Rustam. Unlike Cirus tombs, standing on the ground like a huge sarcophagus, this four large tombs are cut high into the cliff face and decorated with bas relieves. It's the sunset when we arrive, cooler and deserted. The low light underlines the impressive figures. There is a little wind and it's so easy to think about the unavoidable death waiting for every humans. And I remember a poem by Percy Bysshe Schelley talking about the inscription on the rest of an ancient tomb, lost in the desert, almost cancealed: "Oh you foreigner who pass by, stop and admire the greatness of the king that won't never fade in centuries and millennials"... something like this... 
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TO BE CONTINUED
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Image may contain: outdoorHave also a look to Part 1Part 2,  Part 3Part 4 Part 5Part 6 , Part 7 , Part 8 Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13 and Part 14.
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