Naqsh-e Rostam information
The rock tombs of Naqsh-e Rostam are magnificent. Hewn out of a cliff high above the ground, the four tombs are believed to be those of Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I (from left to right as you look at the cliff) although historians are still debating this. The tombs of the later Artaxerxes above Persepolis were modelled on these. The openings lead to funerary chambers, where bones were stored after the vultures had picked them clean. The reliefs above the openings are similar to those at Persepolis, with the kings standing at fire altars supported by figures representing the subject nations below. The cruciform design of the tombs supposedly represents the cardinal points, but some historians wonder whether this religious symbol has any relationship to the Christian cross.