The decision to rebuild the so-called Harem stems from Herzfeld’s idea to rebuild the Tachara which in comparison to the Harem had some disadvantages. At Persepolis-Rekonstruktionen, Krefter gives a precise description of the rebuilding process. Some of the scenes were also documented in the film “Human Adventure” produced by the Oriental Institute of the Chicago University in the 1930’s.

The mud brick that was needed were made from the remaining clay of the old walls that had washed off over the years with the rainfall.

During his reconstruction drawings, Krefter noticed that the outer edge of the incisions for the beams was 85 cm (2.79 feet) behind the axis of the first row of columns. Since the column could only hold the weight of the beam in the center, the beam had to be about 1,70 m wide which would have been impossible. So from this width, he had three normal size beams made, in which the middle beam rested on the center of the column and the other two were on the 2 ends of the crossbeam. The crossbeam itself was between the 2 heads of the double bull-headed capital. It was at this time that Krefter understood the tectonics construction of the bull-head capital and the accompanying roof, which together formed a crosshead.

Krefter’s discovery applies to all the buildings at Persepolis and paved the way for his reconstruction.

From the 121 column bases that should have been found at the Harem only 38 were found. The rest were plundered. In the mosque of Istakhr, many Persepolitan column bases of Harem-type had been found.

The columns and capitals were wood and probably covered with painted gypsum. For the wood supply, Krefter bought thick poplars near Isfahan. Because the wood diameters were not enough the carpenter was forced to combine several lumbers to get the appropriate profile. They then covered them with wooden casing. The roof construction of the portico was rebuilt with treble beams like the original version, but the main hall does not show the original construction because of insufficient wood supply.

After completion, the “Harem” expedition team that had been living in tents moved into the Harem on December 24, 1931. The completion of the king’s wing of the building, which was utilized as a museum, took another 15 months. The building became the headquarter for many excavation campaigns. It also housed many important findings and important guests such as heads of states.


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friedrich krefter
  rebuilding harem

nouruz 2005