Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Ancient Abandoned Tombs of Naqsh-e Rostam in Iran, at Sunset

Hazy afternoon at Naqsh-e Rostam, near Shiraz, Iran

Naqsh-e Rostam, Iran.

Naqsh-e Rostam - Near Shiraz, Iran


Incredible. Here in Iran, the abandoned structures have been abandoned for some time.As in, many thousands of years. Outside of the city of Shiraz, in central Iran, lies the incredible series of tombs and artworks known as Naqsh-e Rostam. Construction of these tombs-of-Kings dates back some three thousand years ago.

Naqsh-e Rostam is quite simply one of the most incredible abandoned sites I have seen in all my travels. Again, as seems to be common with Iran, there were an incredibly small number of people visiting Naqsh-e Rostam on this day. Despite the 14 cents US entry fee (update: word is, this has increased to something like two dollars), there was myself, and perhaps five other visitors present during the time I explored and took photos of the abandoned Naqsh-e Rostam tombs.


Relief detail at Naqsh-e Rostam

Hazy afternoon at Naqsh-e Rostam, near Shiraz, Iran

Panorama of Naqsh-e Rostam


Naqsh-e Rostam – Necropolis of Kings

The series of tombs at Naqsh-e Rostam are all elaborately carved into the side of a stone mountain side. One can’t help but be amazed at the architectural feat of the builders that constructed the various tombs at. Although the photos go some way to showing the immense scale of these tombs, in real life, they take on a much more towering appearance.


Naqsh-e Rostam Taxi

Naqshe Rostam Artwork

View of Naqshe Rustam, near Shiraz, Iran

Historically, there was a river running at the base of the tombs of Naqsh-e Rostam. These days, the river has disappeared. The countryside is very dry. Clearly, the designers chose this location for its iconic and serene location – hill on one side, river on the other. However, a couple of millennia later, the entire area is almost a single colour of stone, adding to the surreal-ness of visiting these unique, and fairly unknown, monuments to former Kings.

Naqsh-e Rostam has five tombs, belonging to the Achaemenian Kings Darius 1, 2, and 3, as well as King Artaxerxes, and King Xerxes. Locally, the tombs are known as the Persian Crosses, as the shape of the hillside tombs is, well, a cross. Amongst the tombs, there are seven enormous relief’s chiselled into the mountain, depicting scenes of generally about victorious battles and day-to-day royal life of thousands of years ago.


Ka'ba-ye Zartosht - also located at the Naqsh-e Rustam area

Incredible Naqsh-e Rostam - Necropolis of Kings - note the man in the bottom right corner, for scale.

Tomb facade at Naqshe Rostam

How to Get to Naqsh-e Rostam, Shiraz, Iran

The Naqsh-e Rostam tombs are located near the city of Shiraz, in Central Iran. They’re around an hour or so by car from the centre of the city. If you do make it to Shiraz, you will easily be able to find a friendly local, or inexpensive taxi, to take you there. Naqsh-e Rostam isn’t far from the ancient abandoned city of Persepolis, you can cruise between the two in easy day trip from Shiraz. In October 2012, the current price is less than $15 US dollars, to hire a private taxi for most of the day (about 6 hours). The map above does not show the precise location of  Naqsh-e Rostam – it is pinpointed on the nearby city of Shiraz.

To read more about Naqsh-e Rostam, here is a link to the Wikipedia entry.

Depending on your nationality, getting a visa may be your hardest obstacle to overcome. Check out this article, it’s a great starting point – and the comments are adding more and more information on how to get a tourist visa to Iran.


Dr Hank Snaffler Jr.


PS, travel photography like this is easy. I was told by a professional-photographer friend of mine that it’s not your camera – it’s about getting out of auto. I didn’t believe her. And then I read the book she wrote.  Click here  and take your travel photography to the next level. Easy and comprehensive, you’ll be taking photos like a pro, no matter what camera you have. I personally recommend ““Getting Out of Auto”  - it’s my secret weapon to learning how to shoot like a pro. Check it out!

Spectacular Decay – Ancient Abandoned City Persepolis, Iran

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.