Standing high in the mountains, along the ancient Persian-Mesopotamian trade route, is the epic story of the battles of Darius the Great (Darius I). Carved 100 meters high on a limestone cliff, this giant 15 by 25 meter bas-relief depicts Darius the Great accompanied by two of his royal guards; triumphing over and stepping on Gaumata, the imposter, and 9 other figures shown as captives with their hands and necks tied. Above this life-size bas-relief is the legendary story of Darius the Great. Written in three different cuneiform script languages, Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian, the writing begins with a short autobiography of Darius I and his ancestry. After, the writing tells of the events and rebellions that followed the deaths Cyrus the Great and his son, Cambyses II. In detail, he tells of 19 battles he fought and won, against those whom falsely proclaimed kinghood, throughout the Persian Empire (521 – 520 BC). He also credited the success of his battles to the “grace of Ahura Mazda” (the Zoroastrian god). This text is the only known document of the Achaemenids that narrates the re-establishment of the Persian Empire by Darius.
As of 2006, this ancient story of legends became an official UNESCO registered world heritage site.
Address: Mount Behistun, Kermanshah Province
Neighborhood: Hunter’s Cave – Incomplete Sassanid Palace – Farhad Tarash