The Bisotun (also spelt Bistoon, Bisutun) Historic Site inscribed with a series of world-famous Bas-relief and cuniform inscription carvings dating from 521c BC ordered by Darius I, the Great, when he rose to the throne of the Persian Empire. 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. Also there are nine rebel leaders standing before him connected by ropes around their necks.

The Bisotun inscription is recorded in three different languages: in this case, cuneiform versions of Old Persian, Elamite, and a form of Neo-Babylonian called Akkadian.

The text of the Bisotun inscription describes the early military campaigns of the Achaemenid rule King Darius I (522–486 BCE). The inscription, carved shortly after Darius's accession to the throne between 520 and 518 BCE, give autobiographical, historical, royal and religious information about Darius: the Bisotun text is one of several pieces of propaganda establishing Darius's right to rule.
 The text also includes Darius's genealogy, a list of the ethnic groups subject to him, how his accession occurred, and several failed revolts against him, a list of his royal virtues, instructions to future generations and how the text was created. 

So, What Does it Mean?
Most scholars agree that the Bisotun inscription is a bit of political bragging. Darius's main purpose was to establish the legitimacy of his claim to Cyrus the Great's throne, to which he had no blood connection. Other bits of Darius's braggadocio are found in others of these trilingual passages, as well as big architectural projects at Persepolis and Susa, and the burial places of Cyrus at Pasargadae and his own at Necropolis.


Henry Rawlinson is credited with the first successful translation in English, scrambling up the cliff in 1835, and publishing his text in 1851. The 19th-century Persian scholar Mohammad Hasan Khan E'temad al-Saltaneh (1843–96) published the first Persian translation of the Bisotun translation. He noted but disputed the then-current idea that Darius or Dara might have been matched to King Lohrasp of the Zoroastrian religious and Persian epic traditions. 
Finally the stunning Bas relief of Bisotun inscribed as world Heritage Site by UNESCO Organization at 2006.

Book your tour on Iran Welcomes you Travel website ( to see this magnificent Royal Inscription of Persian Empire during your trip to Iran.