Spectacular Decay – Ancient Abandoned City Persepolis, Iran

Persepolis Iran


The spectacular abandoned city of Persepolis, in the nation of Iran, is a bit different for Abandoned Journey. I’m currently on holidays in the incredible country of Iran, in the Middle East. Today,I visited the ruins of Persepolis, an ancient city built over two and a half thousand years ago, and located in present-day central Iran. No, it’s not technically urban exploration. But, even Dr Snaffler requires a holiday with his family now and then. If I can sneak in a trip to an abandoned city, all the better.

Persepolis is located near the city of Shiraz, Iran. Shiraz makes for a perfect holiday destination in Iran, due to its proximity to a large number of ancient and abandoned sites. Of course, being known for great kebabs and ice-cream doesn’t hurt, except for my waistline that is. Where was I. Oh yes. Persepolis has been abandoned for over 2300 years, having only lasted around 200 years before it was burned to the ground by Alexander the Great.


Persepolis Iran
Although it is very much a tourist attraction, Persepolis certainly was abandoned in more ways than one on this day. There were almost no other tourists present. This made for a fascinating day, exploring the abandoned ancient city streets, as well as roaming around the hillside searching for hidden caves and viewing the tombs of ancient Persian Kings.

Persepolis is slowly but surely being restored. For example, of the enormous stone pillars you see in the photos, only three have been re-erected in the last forty years. For the most part, the ruins of Persepolis are exactly as they have been for over two millenia.

Unfortunately for the inhabitants of the time, but fortunately for fans of abandoned cities,  Persepolitan architecture is noted for its use of wooden columns. Architects resorted to stone only when the largest planks of wood did not fulfill the required sizes. Column bases and capitals were made of stone, even on wooden shafts. Thus, when Alexander decided to burn this city, it was indeed almost completely destroyed. Some say you can still see evidence of the flames, some 2300 years later – such was the ferocity of the fire.

Persepolis Iran

Persepolis Iran


Getting to the Abandoned City of Persepolis

The map above poinpoints the exact location of Persepolis. However, what you need to do is get to Shiraz, the closest city. From there, a taxi will be easy to organise. Expect to pay around $15 US dollars for a journey to the abandoned city and back. Entry at Persepolis was incredibly cheap in 2012 – but word on the street is it now costs somewhere between $2 and $5 US dollars. Still cheap!


There are a lot of stringent requirements with regards to photography, and trespassing, throughout Iran. An Iranian prison is the last place I would like to end up in, so we shall see whether any genuine urban exploration is accomplished whilst I am here. But either way –  the country is a spectacular holiday destination. Iran may not be number one for urban exploration (we’ll see), but it certainly is number one for holidays, in my humble opinion.

Please enjoy the photos from Persepolis, the ancient Persian city in modern-day Iran.

Dr Hank Snaffler Jr.


PS, it was my friend Bethaney, a professional photographer, who convinced me that it’s not about what camera you have, it’s knowing how to use it. I don’t have a fancy camera, but I know how to use it. Thanks to this – Bethaney’s (and now mine)  secret weapon to better photography. Check out “Getting Out of Auto”, and you’ll be taking photos that your friends and family just won’t believe are possible – within hours. I 100% personally recommend it, take a look.


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