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The centre of the imperial tribune in the ruins of Persepolis. On the left of the picture, the right of the Shah, were seated the members of foreign royal families. On the right of the picture, the other heads of states or their direct representatives.

The day after the spectacular state banquet was time for another superb moment of the celebrations, undoubtedly one of the greatest parades ever staged, reviewing two and a half millenniums of history, conquests, military power and imperial glory. Anyone that might not have been totally impressed by the grand banquet of the eve would surely be definitely convinced by the unique parade of the 15th October, a highpoint of the festivities, whose goal was to give all the guests a taste of what Iran had been in the past, was in 1971 and would be in the future.

During the morning, the heads of state, royalty and other representatives of world nations visited the ruins of Persepolis, guided by Their Imperial Majesties and occasionally speaking to the journalists. The relaxed mood continued to set the tone for the second day of the most amazing gathering of world leaders. During the more formal parade, the uniqueness and peculiarity of it brought many smiles to the faces of the guests, sat in a long tribune, set in front of the ruins. Soldiers dressed in ancient Persian uniforms (unlike said at the time, the idea of recreating ancient uniforms from the Iranian organizers and not the French), swords and shields, fake hair and beard, solemnly mounted the ruins and placed themselves in several spots of the ancient Palace of Darius.

Two of the most impressive moments of the great parade, the assault tower and the three war ships going through the parade ground. On the picture below, it is possible to admire the extraordinary length of the imperial tribune, set in front of the ruins, while above it is possible to see the officers dressed as ancient warriors who placed themselves on various spots of the ruins.

The theme of the great parade was the evolution of the several Persian armies, illustrated by almost 4000 men from the Iranian Army, responsible for this particular part of the celebrations. The event begun with the arrival of two officers riding horses, bringing a message from Teheran to the Shah: the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies had solemnly sent it a few days before, from the doorstep of the Palace of the Senate, after approval by a joint session of the two houses of Parliament. It was a message congratulating the Shah, which had been manuscript in accordance to ancient traditions. Placed inside a box, it travelled through the desert, taken by two officers dressed in Achaemenian uniforms and in horseback, which were replaced occasionally.

The President of the Senate, Mr. Emami read the message, in which the fidelity and affection of the representatives of the Iranian nation was expressed. The Shah thanked the words of the senator and pronounced a speech, of which an excerpt is provided here:

“2500 years ago, one of the sons of this nation, Cyrus the Achaemenian, who incidentally belongs not only to our own heritage but also to that of the world and humanity, brought about a fundamental change. What Cyrus accomplished was to revamp the cruel and inhumane mode of government, which was rampant in those days. He institutionalised a new way in governing based on respect for the rights and beliefs of individuals. This foresight opened up a graceful page in the annals of history.

“Many after him, followed his footsteps, which has in essence resulted in an evolutionary process for humanity to get ever closer to the utopia of a perfect society. Let us hope that with the aid and assistance of all the enlightened souls in the world, once again the pages of our history turn to a new era wherein there are neither any signs of darkness, poverty, abjectness, illness, hunger nor any remnants of prejudice and injustice. Let us hope that our children live in an everlasting peaceful world, free of fear and void of anxiety, where they would have no outlook in their life other than hope and prosperity. (…)

“In the course of 2500 years, every inch of this soil, had been coloured with the blood of her gallant sons and daughters so Iran may live proudly forever. This land of ours has suffered from quite a few incursion, any came to pillage and bring this nation to its knees, yet, they have all vanquished and Iran remains intact."

The Crown Prince of Iran, in the middle of the picture, sat to the right of HRH The Crown Prince of Sweden, who represented his old grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf.

Then, hundreds of drums and trumpets sounded from everywhere in the ruins, as if Cyrus was about to reappear, as if Darius was ready to come down the magnificent staircase of his Palace, as if all the sovereigns of the Persian Empire were summoned to Persepolis at that moment. It was the beginning of the greatest parade of the Persian long history, one of the greatest ever seen in the whole world. It began as Achaemenian archers and lancers were driven in horse or bull-pulled cars through the parade ground, followed by a huge assault tower, pulled by buffalos. Then, the audience of kings, queens, presidents, princes and princesses were stunned by the sight of three enormous war ships, reconstructed after foreign models, pulled along the arena and filled with archers.

All the dynasties were represented with their armies. On horseback, ridding camels, on foot, wearing from ancient steel uniforms to Napoleonic-aspect ones, from the beginning of the 19th century. It included a demonstration of the Arab invasions of the 7th century and it finished with the Qajar armies, from which originated the founder of the Pahlavi Dynasty, Reza Shah the Great. Then it was time for the army of 1971 to march past the dignitaries, the present Iran making its appearance. At the end of the parade, loud applause echoed in the ruins, as the Shah and his guests returned to the heart of the Tent City, where they enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with mutual visits in other’s tents, likely a dream made reality for many of the guests, to have such a relaxed time.

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