On This Day — Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party (Oct. 12-16 1971)

“As irrelevant as a straw until it breaks the camel’s back, the party gave the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini his opportunity. Popular uprising became Islamic revolution. And we live with the results.”

Martin Hoyle — Financial Times (February 2016)

The Imperial Family of Iran arriving at Pasargadae for the opening ceremony of the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire.

In October 1971, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, the self-proclaimed ‘king of kings’, celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history at Persepolis, the ancient capital of the Persian Empire. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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The 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire — officially known as The 2,500th year of Foundation of Imperial State of Iran — consisted of an elaborate set of festivities that took place on 12–16 October 1971 on the occasion of the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Imperial State of Iran and the Achaemenid Empire by Cyrus the Great.

The intent of the celebration was to demonstrate Iran’s old civilization and history and to showcase its contemporary advancements under His Imperial Majesty Mohammad Reza Shah, the last Shah of Iran.

However, the striking extravagance of the celebrations led later historians to believe that the celebrations were the start of the chain of events that ended with the Iranian Revolution and eventual replacement of 2,500 years of continuous Persian monarchy with an Islamic Republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, supported by a wide range of people including various Islamist and leftist organizations and student movements

Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party

Featuring interviews by, among others, Prince Michael of Greece and members of the Iranian government and Imperial Court in the 1970s, the BBC documentary “Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party” charts the progress of planning the lavish celebrations throughout the political turmoil in Iran in the 1970s.

Money was no object – a lavish tent city, using 37km of silk, was erected in a specially created oasis. The world’s top restaurant at the time, Maxim’s, closed its doors for two weeks to cater the event, a five-course banquet served to over sixty of the world’s kings, queens and presidents, and washed down with some of the rarest wines known to man. 

Over a decadent five-day period, guests were treated to a pageant of thousands of soldiers dressed in ancient Persian costume, a ‘son et lumiere’ at the foot of Darius the Great’s temple, and the opening of the Azadi Tower in Tehran, designed to honour the Shah himself. (Royal Watcher)

REFERENCES

2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire — Wikipedia

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On This Day — Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party (Oct. 12-16 1971)

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