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Palace of Darius in Susa

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The Palace of Darius (کاخ داریوش) in Susa was a palace complex in Susa, Iran, a capital of the Achaemenid Empire. The construction was conducted parallel to that of Persepolis. Man-power and raw materials from various parts of the empire contributed to its construction. It was once destroyed by fire and was partially restored later. Little has remained from this important complex.


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Sources describing Achaemenid-era Susa are rare. The Achaemenid constructions at Susa are mostly known through the royal inscriptions, which are mostly trilingual—in Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. Unlike the massive number of clay tablets found in Persepolis, only few clay tablets have been found in Susa, despite its important political and economic situation.

Built on an artificially raised platform 15 metres (49 feett) high, covering 100 hectares (250 acres), the complex at Susa consists of a residential palace, an apadana (audience hall), and a monumental gate. A covered passage ("Propylaeum") faces these structures. The apadana at Susa is similar to that of Persepolis, using the distinctive Persian column, topped by two bulls, which was probably developed here.

Brief History

circa 500 BCE

The palace complex was constructed by the Achaemenid king Darius I in Susa, his favorite capital. Construction works continued under Darius I's son, Xerxes, and to a lesser extent, Artaxerxes I (465–424 BCE) and Darius II (423–404 BCE). Artaxerxes II (404–358 BCE) partially restored the palace as it was destroyed by a fire during the reign of Artaxerxes I fifty years earlier. The palace was captured and plundered by the invading Macedonians under Alexander the Great in December 330 BCE.

Today only glazed bricks of the palace remain, the majority of them in the Louvre. The site of the palace has been greatly damaged during the past seven decades.


circa 500 BCE

Apadana Hall
The Apadana Hall or the Great Audience Hall is a hypostyle hall, located north of the main palace complex of Susa. It was used as the main reception area for the representatives/delegations. This hall was sided by porticoes of columns in two rows. It was accessible from the south through the second and third courts of this palace. The audience hall measured 109x109 meters. Thirty-six large columns that supported the roof. Three times twelve columns supported the roofs of the porticos to the west, north, and east sides of the building. The Apadana was badly damaged during the war between Iran and Iraq (1980-1988).

Architectural Elements

circa 500 BCE

Column Capitals
This colossal capital from one of the thirty-six monumental columns which supported the roof of the apadana at Susa is evidence of an architectural tradition purely Iranian. It is typical of Achaemenid art in combining elements taken from different civilizations to form a coherent stylistic ensemble.

circa 500 BCE

Stone Columns
The stone columns of the Apadana are 23.25 meters high, including the 8 meters tall composite capital, 13.50 meters tall shaft and 1.75 meters tall pedestal. The plinths of the central hall are square and pedestals of porticoes are bell shaped. The grooved cylindrical pieces places on each other and forms the shaft of the column.

Capitals of the hypostyle hall are composed of three parts; the upper bull shaped capital, which held the beams of the ceiling. The middle part is a certical grooved quadrangle with four forms of ivies and motifs of 16 lotuses. The third part consists of bloomed flowers on its top and a cylindrical form with motifs of palm leaves on its bottom.

Biblical Account

circa 500 BCE

According to Bible, Mordecai resided in Susa (Shushan or Shoushan), the metropolis of Persia (now Iran). He adopted his orphaned cousin (Esther 2:7), Hadassah (Esther), whom he brought up as if she were his own daughter.

Twice in the book of Esther, Mordecai is monetioned as being present in the city square, also repeatedly the book of Esther mentions that Mordecai worked at the King’s Gate (inspect).


See Also