Naqsh-e Rustam is one of the most beautiful ancient monuments of Iran .This complex is located at the foot of Zagros Mountain and 3 k m far from Persepolis.
Naqsh-e Rustam is noteworthy in our culture and history because of what ancient rulers have left here like combat scene of Iranian and Romans and victory of Iranian, royal and religious as reliefs and Achaemenid kings Tombs.
Generally the carvings are from three different periods:
1- Elam period 600 to 2000 BC
2- Achaemenid 600 to 300 BC
3- Sassanian period 224 to 651 AD
The first inscription of Sassanian has 10 m. length and 5 m. width and 2 m. higher than ground level. The land lords of same area have inscribed in Persian language about agriculture and irrigation on this space that was prepared about 100 years back.
The second carving of Naqsh-e Rustam depicts the investiture of Narsi Sassanian King. It shows Narsi is receiving ring of power from Anahita goddess. He has a garment over loose trousers. His crown, jewelry and other detailing have high artistic value. Behind king there is a noble man , having gesture of respect with bend forefinger.
Anahita on right side standing in a long dress, with pearls necklace. Her braided hair is over her tiara.
The third relief in Naqsh-e Rustam is relief of Bahram 2nd, Sassanian king.
This one depicts battle of Bahram with Roman enemy while he is on his horse back and breaking enemy’s lance (276-298 AD)
The Roman is shown trampled beneath the hooves of Bahram’s horse. Behind the king the outline of a soldier with flag is discernible.
The forth carvings of Naqsh-e Rustam belongs to Shahpur 1st. It depicts the victory of Shahpur1st over Roman emperor, Valerian that happened in 263 AD.
This is one of the most spectacular carvings of Sassanid era which is in the east side of Darius the Great Tomb. Its length and width is 11 m and 5 m. This is a great carving in delicacy of craftsmanship and shows Valerian as captive and Philip Arabian while stretching his hands and asking for forgiveness. This relief is three times bigger than normal size and is one of the most famous of Sassanian bas relief. We can see Kertier , Zoroastrian priest standing behind the king with bend forefinger. There is an inscription behind king also which is the continuation of Zoroaster ‘Kaba’s Inscription.
The fifth inscription of Naqsh-e Rustam depicts Hormoz 2nd,combating his Roman enemy.
The 6th basrelief of The 6th relief belongs to Shapur 2nd belongs to Shapur 2nd, Which shows Kartier religious leadership and one inscription behind Shapur King.
The Seventh Relief in Naqsh-e Rustam belongs to Bahram 2nd. This is remarkable because Sassanian made space on the Elamite relief to do their carvings. In the right side and left side we can see Elamite God and Goddess. Elamite carvings dates back 1st millennium BC and Sassanian carvings was done in 274-294 AD.
The eighth relief of is investiture of Ardashir 1 the founder of Sassanian Dynasty.
This carving of Naqsh-e Rustam is one of the most beautiful carvings and depicts the coronation of Ardeshir 1 who is receiving the ring of power from Ahura Mazda. Artabenus 5th is lifeless beneath his horse hooves and body of Ahreman is trampled by Ahura mazda’s horse. The two snakes on the head of Ahreman or Angra Mainyu are visible. There are two inscriptions on the chest of both horses in Greek, Pahlavi Ashkani and Pahlavi Sassanian language. The inscriptions say “this is Ardashir 1 king of kings chosen by God and son of Ardeshir 1 “.
The ninth relief of Sassanian dynasty in Naqsh-e Rustam is two cubic structures. Earlier they were known as fire alter but today scholars believe they are Ostodan and two noble men’s bones were kept there.
Achaemenid Tombs in Naqsh-e Rustam:
The tombs of Achaemenid kings in Naqsh-e Rustam all are cross shape. All four Tombs of Achaemenid kings in Naqsh-e Rustam appear on the outside as gigantic crosses with their bottom edge located high above the ground. Each limb of the cross is 10 m .
The upper limb of the cross decoration, shows king standing on a dais which is uphold by subject people. The Royal Glory ( farr) is above him and fire alter also is in front of him. Inside the chamber there are nine chambers with nine caffeine for his family as well.
The first one with more decoration is Darius The Great’s Tomb. It is 26 meters higher than ground level. The inscription of the tomb says that it belongs to Darius The Great, he became king in 522 BC and after 36 years he had a natural death at the age of 64.
The second tomb of Naqsh-e Rustam belong to Xerxes which is located 100 m far in east side of Darius Tomb.
On this cross king is starting on dais. On top Royal Glory or Farr and disk of moon are visible. King is holding his hand in gesture of oath and subject people upholding the dias. These people are from India and Sogad ( Saka Homovarga) to Libyan and Egypt.
The third tomb in Naqsh-e Rustam is next to Darius Tomb and belongs to Artaxerxes. It is located in the left side of Darius tomb. This one also has same decoration with three small chambers and three coffins.
The forth tomb of Naqsh-e Rustam is tomb of Darius 2nd with same decoration.