Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab
In the cliffs neighboring Persepolis are two ancient sites featuring rock-hewn tombs that are well worth a visit and are usually included in a guided tour to Persepolis from Shiraz.
The must-see one is Naqsh-e Rostam where the four tombs are believed to be those of Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I (from left to right facing the cliff), although historians are still debating this. The seven Sassanian stone reliefs cut into the cliff depict vivid scenes of imperial conquests and royal ceremonies; signboards below each relief give a detailed description in English.
The reliefs above the openings to the funerary chambers are similar to those at Persepolis, with the kings standing on thrones supported by figures representing the subject nations below.
Facing the cliff is the Bun Khanak (Cen-tral Home). This was long thought to be an Achaemenid fire temple, but scholars now argue that it might have been a treasury. The walls are marked with inscriptions catalogu-ing later Sassanian victories.
The Naqsh-e Rajab rock carvings could easily escape notice if it weren’t for the sign and the entry kiosk. Four fine Sassanian bas-reliefs are hidden here from the road by the folds of a rocky hill and depict various scenes from the reigns of Ardashir I and Shapur the Great.
It’s feasible to walk the 6km from Perse-polis to Naqsh-e Rostam, stopping off at Naqsh-e Rajab en route in winter, but this is not an option in the heat of summer. Taxis waiting outside the entrance gate to Persepolis for the return trip to Shiraz can be persuaded to make a detour at Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab with a brief stop at each.