Persepolis vs. Acropolis

In ancient times, the Great Empires built enormous structures. Persepolis in Shiraz and Acropolis in Athena as the significant monuments reflect the greatness, power and glory of Persian and Greek Empire. By studying these ruins we can earn information about the ancient times and find out why these huge structures were built. Archeologists could achieve enough data about the function of these architectural masterpieces via constant excavations and researches.

persepolis-1Persian Architecture and Persepolis Recreated

Persian architecture has always attracted archeologists’ attention toward itself. Ruins of Persepolis can be considered as one of the masterpieces of Persian architecture. There are some other prominent similar structures in the world including ruins of Acropolis and China’s great wall which can be compared to each other from different aspects. This article is going to discuss the similarities, differences, features and functions of these outstanding historical sites.

The glorious ruins of Persepolis are situated in Marvdasht near Shiraz. Persepolis was the capital of Achaemenids, the first and the most powerful Empire of its time. Persepolis was founded in 518 BC by Darius the great (Darius I), the deserved successor of Cyrus the great. He created an impressive palace complex, consisting of palaces with slender columns, reception rooms and throne hall which are mainly inspired by Mesopotamian models such as Assyrians and Babylonians. Persepolis classified among the world’s greatest archeological sites. Skillful stone carvings and existence of colored stones in Persepolis would make any visitor impressed.

The ruins of the Acropolis are located in Athens, Greece. It has been built in 5th century BC. Parthenon temple is its most important building. Acropolis is an enclosed space on the high part of the city. It was considered as a citadel where heads and politicians were gathering together to take important decisions. There are lots of statues designed and made by Phidias the skillful famous Greek sculptor but no stone carving can be seen in Acropolis while Persepolis is known for the delicate stone carving in its different parts.

acropolisSome similarities exist between Acropolis and Persian architecture. For instance, in both structures stone is the main material. In Acropolis there are columned halls like in Persepolis and the main material of both structures is stone. If we want to mention some differences, we can refer to the function of them. Acropolis was used to be a place of gathering heads and leaders, in other words it was a citadel and had a political function and usage. But Persepolis was considered as a palace complex to celebrate Persian New Year Eve (Norouz) in the beginning of spring, as it is visible in the sculptured scene on the Apadana staircase which shows 23 delegations from various parts of the Persian Empire bringing exotic gifts for the Great King, Darius I. Therefore, this great complex was created mostly for cultural aims and the stone carvings which are sculpted skillfully on Apadana shows significance of respecting all existing cultures in realm of Persian Empire.


As it was mentioned in introduction of this article, China’s great wall is another architectural masterpiece which has been created in 221 BC. It is located in the north of China. This wonderful great wall can be considered as one of the most important tourist destinations especially for those who are interested in Eastern culture. The main material used in china’s great wall is sun-dried bricks and stones as in Persepolis, so that’s why it is still firm and stable. This great wall has been constructed by the Chinese Empire to confront Mongol invasions and to prevent their attacks. Therefore, the major reason of creating such architecture was military purposes and the area is a reminder of war atmosphere for the visitors.

To put in a nutshell, architecture of a country may reflect the culture, history and civilization of the territory and its people. Persepolis as the masterpiece of Persian architecture can be an indicator of deep culture and civilization of this ancient territory. There was a deep friendship among 23 nations under the name of Persian Empire. According to the rock reliefs and the inscriptions in Persepolis, all religions and cultures were respected in Persian Empire and also during the construction of such great structure, all the rights of the workers were reserved and there was no sign of slaveholding in Achaemenids’ governance system.