A series of photographs taken on visits to Persepolis in 2006 and 2009
There's only one entrance on to the vast terrace: up the ceremonial stairway in the north west corner. All would have passed through Xerxes'"Gate of All Nations" guarded by four massive Assyrian-style bulls (Stanley,the US reporter famous for his earlier African adventures has - among others - left his mark here).
If you were a foreign visitor you'd have gone straight on and turned right through the unfinished gatehouse and into the Hall of 100 columns, where you'd have waited for attention!
Persian nobles however, would have turned right immediately through the Gate of All Nations, and made their way to the Audience Hall (the so-called Apadana), which they would have entered via one of the sets of ceremonial stairs, whose magnificent scuptured decoration is wonderfully preserved. The eastern one shows pocessions of visitors from all over the empire bearing their characteristic gifts. Especially privileged visitors could then have proceeded to one of the palaces of the king of kings, via the Tripylon, another huge gateway.