The Greatest Party on Earth
In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed “King of Kings”, celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party known in history.
Money was no object; an international airport and 80 kilometres of motorway were built to reach the desert venue at the ancient ruins of Persepolis. Over a year, a lavish oasis was created, replete with woodland, flowers, fountains and 50,000 songbirds imported from Europe. Even the world’s top restaurant, Maxim’s closed its doors for two weeks to cater the event.
Female guests were provided with a separate bunker for their jewellery, while Iranian military planes flew in 150 tons of kitchen equipment from Paris. For an event that was to celebrate Iran and it’s history, everything – except the caviar – was flown in from France.
But it was more than just a party. For the Shah personally, it affirmed his absolutist glory. Internationally, it aimed to win Iran a place at the top of nations. Internally and fatally, its pre-Islamic theme was a blatant two-fingers to Iran’s Muslim hierarchy, the only group with the power to challenge the Shah.