It was probably the greatest construction project of antiquity: in 520 B.C. King Darius I of the Achaemenids had a forty acre terrace piled up at the foot of the Kuh-e-Rahmat – the Mount of Mercy – in the central Persian plateau. Here the new capital of the Persian Empire was to arise: Parsa, or Persepolis. Architects, craftsmen and artists from all the corners of a world empire that extended over three continents, from Indus to the Black Sea, from the Caspian Sea to Ethiopia, were mobilized to construct a magnificent city.
This program reconstructs the imposing site. The architects Wolfgang Gambke and Kourosh Afhami rebuilt Persepolis virtually with an animation program also used by architects and urban planners. Working on this project for several years, they produced several thousand outlines, details, structures. Not only does the documentary breathe life into the splendor of Persepolis, it also recreates a picture of a world empire which was exemplary in its organization and administration. And what was perhaps its most important feature: a realm whose inhabitants, even in the conquered regions, could rely on tolerance in questions of faith and, to a certain extent, on the rule of law. After his soldiers had pillaged the terraces of Persepolis and burnt it to the ground, Alexander visited the ruins and is said to have repented the destruction.
A film by Götz Balonier
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