Bisotun (Old Persian: the place of God) is a multi-lingual (Elamite, Akkadian, and old Persian) inscription dating back to 521 BC, located on Mount Bisotun in Kermanshah, it remains from the prehistoric times to the Median, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Ilkhanid periods. This inscription is the largest bas-relief carving in the world and the first and foremost one in Iran.

The inscription is approximately 15m high by 25m wide and 100m up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media (Babylon and Ecbatana, respectively). The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns, and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines. The inscription was illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius I, the Great, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him. This inscription tells the story of Darius the great's victory in the war against Gaumata, it shows Darius receiving chained supplicants while a Farohar (winged Zoroastrian 'angel' denoting purity) hovers overhead. In fact Darius the great attributes his success to the "grace of Ahura Mazda".

Some 200m beyond the main site is the huge, smooth Farhad Tarash rock face, popular with climbers who consider it among Iran's greatest challenges. In fact it was artificially smoothed in the 17th century AD for an inscription that Khosrow II never got around to scribbling.

In Shahname, Ferdowsi said that a lover named Farhad loved a girl named Shirin. To marry his beloved, king made him to carve Mount Bisotun to reach water! He finally did so, then he heard that Shirin passed away, he fell from the cliff and died.


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