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Forgotten Empire: The World Of Ancient Persia - Exhibition Opens at the British Museum

This exhibition is the most important and elaborate exhibition on Ancient Persia ever organized.

Ancient Persia was the largest and wealthiest state in the Ancient Near East, eclipsing Assyria and Babylonia and overshadowing Greece in the west. Between 550 BC and 330BC the Persians ruled an Empire that stretched from North Africa to the Indus Valley and from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This vast Empire was administered from the Persian homeland in South-West Iran and from capital cities such as Susa, Pasargadae and Persepolis, arguably the most magnificent site in the whole of the ancient world. The exhibition shows the splendor of Ancient Persia as reflected in the architecture, the sumptuousness of the material culture, and the sophistication of the administration. This is the legacy of kings such as Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes. This splendid civilization was brought to an end by the invasion of Alexander the Great, who burnt Persepolis. The Western World tends to know about the Persians through their wars with the Greeks, suggesting that the Persians were a despotic and ruthless people, but this is a western and ethnocentric view that is corrected in the exhibition which relies on oriental sources rather than classical texts for information about the Persians. With the present high level of public interest in the Middle East there has never been a more appropriate time to examine in depth one of the great Empires of antiquity. Finally, the exhibition explores the contribution of the Persians to western civilisation.

Included in the exhibition will be substantial loans from the National Museum in Tehran, the Persepolis museum, and the Louvre in Paris. These will supplement the British Museum's own significant holdings in this area. This will be the first time that many of the objects from Tehran have been outside Iran, and some of the more precious gold and silver items have never been shown in Tehran. In addition to original material, spectacular casts of stone reliefs at Persepolis will be displayed. These were made by the Weld-Blundell expedition in 1891 and are now in much better condition than the original reliefs at Persepolis.


9 September 2005 - 8 January 2006.
British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG.

Organised by

The British Museum in association with the Iran Heritage Foundation.

Curated by

John Curtis, The British Museum.


Full rate 8 GBP
Senior citizens 7 GBP
Students 6 GBP
14-18 years 4 GBP
Under 14s free
Season ticket (limited availability) 20 GBP
Groups Special admission rates apply for groups of 10 or more

Audio guide

3.50 GBP

Timed ticket entry system

Exhibition operates on a timed ticket entry system. To guarantee the entry time of your choice advance booking is strongly recommended.

Box office

Book tickets through the British Museum box office
44 20 73238181 (tel)
44 20 73238616 (fax)
44 20 73238920 (minocom) (online)


Illustrated exhibition catalogue - including vital commentaries on Ancient Persia's history, languages, architecture, religion and legacy, is available in the Museum, by telephoning 0800 085 0864 or online at

Link for event details

If the images do not load for this page, and for additional information on this offer please follow this link:

Iran Heritage Foundation, 5 Stanhope Gate, London W1K 1AH. 44 20 74934766 (tel), 44 20 74999293 (fax),

... Payvand News - 9/9/05 ... --

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