In central Iran, at the foot of a low hill overlooking a seemingly endless plain, stand a few broken columns reaching impossibly high for ruins. Atop one or two are the stern, proud faces of bulls and eagles, battered by the sands of 2300 years of history. In the great appadana that once stood there, Darius, King of kings, used to sit and preside over a parade of nations that had come to honour him. The most diverse, multicultural empire of the ancient world: Persia.

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