Located 70 km northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province, Persepolis is a primary tourist attraction. It was founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., and was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. The palace was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. Persepolis was an ancient ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire that has been registered in the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1979. The largest and most complex building in Persepolis was the audience hall, or Apadana with 72 columns.
The main characteristic of Persepolitan architecture is its columns, which are made of wood. The bases and the capitals were always of stones, even on wooden shafts, but the existence of wooden capitals is probable.
The remains including the bas-reliefs and sculptures provide an insight into hearts and beliefs of the ancient Persians (Iranians). The buildings at Persepolis are divided into three areas; military quarters, the treasury and the reception and occasional houses for the King of Kings. These included the Great Stairway, the Gate of Nations (Xerxes), the Apadana palace of Darius, the Hall of a Hundred Columns, the Tripylon Hall and Tachara palace of Darius, the Hadish palace of Xerxes, the palace of Artaxerxes III, the Imperial Treasury, the Royal Stables and the Chariot house.
Persepolis is near a small river called Pulwar which flows into the Kur (Kyrus). The site is marked by a large 125,000 square meter terrace, partly artificially constructed and partly cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Kuh-e Rahmet ("the Mountain of Mercy"). The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which varies in height with the slope of the ground. From 5 to 13 meters on the west side there is a double stair, gently sloping, which leads to the top. To create the level terrace, any depressions that were present were filled up with soil and heavy rocks. They joined the rocks together with metal clips.