March 25, 2023

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UNESCO-registered Bisotun to host Noruz celebration

TEHRAN –Noruz, the Persian New Year holiday, is scheduled to be celebrated in the UNESCO-registered Bisotun, which embraces giant bas-reliefs and inscriptions of Darius the Great, in the western province of Kermanshah, the provincial tourism chief has said.

In addition to the Noruz celebration, this festival also showcases the province’s tourism capabilities and handicrafts in an area of 1,600 meters, Dariush Farmani explained on Sunday.

There is an area and program that is suitable for children of all ages at this festival so that families can have fun together, the official added.

More Noruz festivities are also planned to be held in Taq-e Bostan, Anahita Temple, and the Sassanid archeological landscape, he noted.

Situated some 30 kilometers from Kermanshah, at the foot of the Zagros Mountains, Bisotun was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list on July 13, 2006.

The principal monument of this archaeological site is a massive bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius the Great shortly after he ascended to the throne of the Persian Empire in 521 BC.

The bas-relief portrays Darius holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty and treading on the chest of a figure who lies on his back before the Achaemenid king. According to legend, the figure represents Gaumata, the Median Magus, and pretender to the throne, whose assassination led to Darius’s rise to power.

Below and around the bas-reliefs, there are about 1,200 lines of inscriptions telling the story of the battles Darius waged in 521-520 BC against the governors who attempted to take apart the empire founded by Cyrus.

The inscription is written in three languages. The oldest is an Elamite text referring to legends describing the king and the rebellions. This is followed by a Babylonian version of similar legends. The last phase of the inscription is particularly important, as it is here that Darius introduced the Old Persian version of his res gestae (things done).

This is the only known monumental text of the Achaemenids to document the re-establishment of the empire by Darius I. It also bears witness to the interchange of influences in the development of monumental art and writing in the region of the Persian Empire. There are also remains from the Median period (8th to 7th centuries BC) as well as from the Achaemenid (6th to 4th centuries BC) and post-Achaemenid periods.

According to the UN cultural body, Bisotun bears outstanding testimony to the important interchange of human values in the development of monumental art and writing, reflecting ancient traditions in monumental bas-reliefs.

The area was on the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and contains remains from prehistoric times to the Median and Achaemenid eras.


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