Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2006
Size of heritage: 187 ha
- Buffer zone: 361 ha

Longitude: 47,437°
Latitude: 34,388°


Bisotun is located along the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and features remains from the prehistoric times to the Median, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Ilkhanid periods. The principal monument of this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius I, The Great, when he rose to the throne of the Persian Empire, 521 BC. The bas-relief portrays Darius holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty, and treading on the chest of a figure who lies on his back before him. According to legend, the figure represents Gaumata, the Median Magus and pretender to the throne whose assassination led to Darius’s rise to power. Below and around the bas-reliefs, there are ca. 1,200 lines of inscriptions telling the story of the battles Darius waged in 521-520 BC against the governors who attempted to take apart the Empire founded by Cyrus. The inscription is written in three languages. The oldest is an Elamite text referring to legends describing the king and the rebellions. This is followed by a Babylonian version of similar legends. The last phase of the inscription is particularly important, as it is here that Darius introduced for the first time the Old Persian version of his res gestae (things done). This is the only known monumental text of the Achaemenids to document the re-establishment of the Empire by Darius I. It also bears witness to the interchange of influences in the development of monumental art and writing in the region of the Persian Empire. There are also remains from the Median period (8th to 7th centuries B.C.) as well as from the Achaemenid (6th to 4th centuries B.C.) and post-Achaemenid periods.

Location on Map

Show bigger map on Openstreetmap


Bisotun, located in the Province of Kermanshah in Iran, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that holds immense historical and cultural significance. This ancient site is renowned for its rock reliefs, inscriptions, and archaeological remains, which provide valuable insights into the region's rich history. Bisotun is a testament to the remarkable achievements of ancient civilizations and serves as a window into the past.


The history of Bisotun dates back to the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE. The site gained prominence during the reign of Darius the Great, who commissioned the famous rock relief and inscription that dominates the area. The inscription, written in three languages (Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian), narrates the story of Darius' rise to power and his conquests.

Bisotun continued to be of historical importance during subsequent periods, including the Parthian and Sassanian eras. It served as a strategic location along the Silk Road, connecting the east and west. The site also witnessed the rise and fall of various empires, including the Seleucids and the Islamic dynasties.

Current State

Today, Bisotun stands as a well-preserved archaeological site, attracting visitors from around the world. The rock relief, standing at over 100 feet tall, is the centerpiece of the site. It depicts Darius the Great, surrounded by his defeated enemies, symbolizing his triumphs and the might of the Achaemenid Empire.

In addition to the rock relief, Bisotun boasts numerous other archaeological remains. These include ancient tombs, fortifications, and remnants of the Silk Road. The site offers a glimpse into the daily lives, customs, and architectural styles of the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the region.

Efforts have been made to preserve and protect Bisotun's historical significance. The site is carefully maintained by the Iranian government, ensuring its longevity for future generations. Conservation projects have been undertaken to safeguard the rock relief and prevent any deterioration caused by natural elements or human interference.

Importance and Significance

Bisotun holds immense importance as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It serves as a valuable source of historical information, shedding light on the ancient Persian Empire and its interactions with neighboring civilizations. The rock inscription, in particular, provides crucial insights into the political, cultural, and linguistic aspects of the Achaemenid Empire.

Furthermore, Bisotun's location along the Silk Road highlights its significance as a hub of trade and cultural exchange. The site's archaeological remains offer a glimpse into the economic and social dynamics of the ancient world.


Bisotun, located in the Province of Kermanshah in Iran, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands as a testament to the region's rich history. With its rock relief, inscriptions, and archaeological remains, Bisotun provides a window into the achievements and cultural heritage of ancient civilizations. Preserved and protected, this site continues to captivate visitors and researchers alike, offering valuable insights into the past.

Videos from the area

Dusan - Bisotun Mountain Iran

Published: March 11, 2008
Length: 37:47 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Dusandju

Dusan Djurovich Zigmund - Bisotun Mountain Iran - 1994 (Kuh-e Bisotun / Paru)

Videos provided by Youtube are under the copyright of their owners.