added by archaeologs The capital of the Achaemenid empire, in the Zagros Mountains of Iran, founded by Darius shortly after 518 BC; it was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. The ceremonial palace was built by teams of workers and craftspeople from all parts of the empire. It replaced the earlier capital, Pasargadae, and was in many ways modeled on it, although incorporating many architectural and artistic innovations. It consists of a stone terrace platform on which were erected a series of monumental palaces and audience halls, as well as other buildings, constructed over a period of some 60 years. It is the showpiece of Achaemenid art, consisting of a series of great palaces and columned reception halls (apadana). Monumental stairways are flanked by lines or reliefs showing Median and Persian nobles, tribute bearers from all quarters of the empire, servants preparing banquets, as well as the enthroned rulers themselves. The records and stylistic details attest the employment of Medes, Syrians, Urartians, and Ionian Greeks among others. The two largest buildings, the Apadana of Darius and the Throne Hall of Xerxes, occupied the center of the terrace and divided it into two functional halves. The northern area was military and mainly the work of Artaxerxes I, while the southern area contained the Palaces of Darius and Xerxes, the harem and treasury areas. Just north of Persepolis is Naqsh-i Rustam, where four monumental tombs were carved in the cliff face; these are the tombs of Darius I and three of his successors (probably those of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II). They are also decorated with relief carvings and bear trilingual inscriptions in Elamite, Babylonian (Akkadian), and Old Persian. There are also late 2nd millennium BC Middle Elamite and early 1st millennium AD Sassanian inscriptions.