Bisotun(Behistun), fabulous world heritage spread wildly in a more than 200-acre area, has been around since Middle Paleolithic era. There is evidence of human settlements that range from the prehistoric times to the Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanian, Ilkhanid and Safavid periods. Kermanshah province hosts this wonderful attraction . There are 15 historic attractions in this area such as: Hunters’ cave, Median worshiping place, Median fortress, Darius bas-relief, Hercules statue, Mehrdad II bas-relief, Goudarz bas-relief, Blaash bas-relief, Parthian Temple, Parthian hillside, Farhad Tarash, Carved rocks; Unfinished Sassanid-era structure, Ilkhanate Caravanserai, Safavid Caravanserai and Sheykhali khan Zanganeh (an Iranian statesman of Kurdish origin, who served as the prime minister of Safavid king Suleiman) Vaqfnameh (letter of dedication). Among all, UNESCO listed Darius bas-relief as world heritage site in 2006.
Darius Bas-relief(Bisotun/Behistun inscription)
Up on the one side of majestic mount Bisotun, Darius bas-relief shows up. At the center Darius is standing on the pretender to the throne and before him, all tied, are 9 rebels he initially defeated. Above all the Faravahar symbol is giving him the power ring. The Behistun inscriptions in Babylonian, Elamite and Old Persian, located outside/around this central panel, telling the “World” all about Darius and his Dynasty; his wars against rebellions and in the end he has cursed whoever tends to destroy this relief. For the sake of preservation, they don’t allow tourists up there and due to scaffolding the relief is only visible in the distance and by equipped eyes.
If we consider west of Iran as a gate to Asia; Bisotun Sarab was definitely an extremely important settlement for passing caravans. The water of this Sarab was one of the principle reasons of human settlements around it. They have recently discovered some parts of an ancient Achaemenid road in northern part of the Sarab. All these attractions around Sarab, are a good reason for this claim (the Achaemenid road) since in old days, people carved reliefs along the important roads to inform people from a significantly remarkable event.
Another point of interest is Hercules statue lying while a bowl is in his hand in an hard-to-find point in Bisotun. You have o have an eye for it since its much smaller than what we usually see in photos. Behind his head there are some carvings including an olive tree and a quiver is hanging from its branch. Beside the tree there is a cone-shaped mace as well as an inscription in old Greek in seven lines.
A bit further along the path is the biggest carved wall in Iran in about 200 meter, Farhad Tarash. Among all speculations and based on the recent archaeological belief; they apparently prepared this gigantic smoothed wall from late Sasanian times; for another victory relief which was never completed. And why do we call it Farhad Tarash? Bisotun, for Iranians, is something more than a mere historical monument. Later folklore connected this place to the legend of Farhad and Shirin. A tragic romantic legend which didn’t have a happy ending.
Bisotun Caravanserai (Laleh Bistoon International Hotel)
As far as accommodation concerns, if you fell for this extraordinary historic sight, a Safavid caravanserai with a fantastic view to the mount Bisotun would be the best choice. It appears that Safavid sovereign Shah Abbas I commanded the construction; and Sheykhali khan Zanganeh helped completing the construction. Sleeping in old chambers, now restored and turned into Hotel rooms, and reviewing all the epic and love story you have heard, could be a rare chance may never happen again.
It takes a full day long guided tour in order to visit all the 15 historical monuments.
You can easily reach to the site by a private car or taxy from Kermanshah in half an hour.