Naqsh-e Rajab

Naqsh-e Rajab is the site of four limestone rock-cut bas-reliefs from the early Sassanid era, located about 9 km north of Persepolis in the Fars Province of Iran. Together with Naqsh-e Rostam, which lies 2.5 km away, Naqsh-e Rajab is part of the Marvdasht cultural complex. The two sites are a tentative candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status.

One of the carvings is depicting the investiture of Ardashir I (r. AD 224-240/1), the founder of the Sassanid dynasty. The second shows the investiture of Ardashir’s successor, Shapur I (r. AD 240/2-270). A third bas-relief, known as ‘Shapur’s Parade’, depicts the king on horseback. A fourth bas-relief and inscription is attributed to Kartir, the Zoroastrian high priest under Shapur I and his sons Hormizd I (r. AD 270-273) and Bahram I (r. AD 273-276).

Coordinates: 29°57’59.4″N 52°53’13.4″E


The oldest relief was made by king Ardashir I, the founder of the Sassanid empire. It shows the supreme god Ahuramazda/Hormuzd (right) handing over a ring (called cydaris, the symbol of power) to Ardashir (left).
During the reign of king Bahram II (276-293), a small relief was added to the left. It shows the Zoroastrian high-priest Kartir making a gesture of admiration and loyalty to king Ardashir.
Equestrian relief of Shapur I. The Sassanid king is shown on horseback. Behind him are nine people, who may have been important courtiers or members of the dynasty.

The investiture relief of Shapur, the son and successor of Ardashir. Shapur receives the ring of power from the supreme god Ahuramazda.
Naqsh-e Rajab


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