A Zoroastrian Educational Institute



HomeArticlesAuthorsBook ReviewCommunityLibraryProminentsRegisterStoreArticle SubmissionAbout Us




Palace of Darius
in Biblical City of Susa, in south western Iran

Visual Essays



Varza, Jamshid

Related Articles:
Words of Darius in Behistun...
Tribute Bearers...
Achaemenian Jewel
Related Links:

The ancient city of Susa is mentioned in Old Testament as the place where prophet Daniel lived. The city name is derived from Shashana, a member of water lily family of flowers, believed to grow in lakes and swamps outside this biblical city in ancient times..

Archeological findings indicate that Susa was already an ancient city at the time of prophet Daniel. There are findings showing Susa as a prehistoric settlement, for Susa built in a valley with fertile soil next to a branch of Karoon river, in Khuzestan province, in south western Iran. The region surrounding Susa is considered in a region where agriculture, animal domestication, and first city states where developed.

Susa was the capital of a ancient kingdom know is Elam. A kingdom built and ruled by Dravidian people who ruled it from second millennium BCE until late mid-first millennium BCE. Elamite kingdom was destroyed by attacks from Babylonians. Elamite influence spread throughout the southern regions of Iran by their cuneiform writing system, and rock inscriptions.

When Cyrus the Great founded his empire, many customs from the Elam became part of the Persian Empire.

Susa was declared as one of the three capitals of the empire covering the southern regions. 

When Darius established his rule over the empire, he set out to built the palace of Persepolis in his home state, and later an equally magnificent palace in his favorite city of Susa. Today we can visit the ruins of this palace built on a hilltop overlooking the modern city of Susa.

Archeological excavations in Susa have given us many artifact from Darius' era, which indicate the magnificence of this palace.

In Achaemenian section of National Iranian Museum (also known as Iran-e Bastan Museum) stands a stone carved statue of Darius the Great, uncovered in Susa. A close examination show Egyptian hieroglyphic writings on the right side, and Elamite cuneiform writing on left side of his royal robe. Perhaps this symbolized his dominion over the southern satrapies of his empire.


Numerous palace architectural ornaments were uncovered which are -- soldiers, guardian figures, and mythical images. The solder images depict Daruis' "immortal guard," a unit of elite high ranking warriors in charge of protecting him and his empire.

The general view of the hill top reveals several fallen rock carved columns. The carving style and shapes are similar to Persepolis buildings. The fluted shaped column with flowers at pillars are truly an Achaemenian style in ancient palace buildings.

This style was later used in ancient palaces as far as northern India all the way to Ionian Greece.

Rock sections formed to decorate the top of each column are also found in the area. They are carved in precise geometric shapes, indicating the importance of this art form during the era.

One can see a white short tower on the western side of the palace hill. The tomb of prophet Daniel is housed inside in this white building on the river bank going through the ancient city of Susa.