Photo by Garo Nalbandian

Seen from the southwest, the pleasure palace dominates this small valley, which was once covered by a reflecting pool. The pool was bounded on the east, north and west by hills; on the south (to the right, not visible), Hyrcanus constructed a 500-foot-long dam, made of 250,000 cubic yards of earth fill. The first floor of the palace and its gleaming southern facade were reconstructed from 1979 to 1985 by a French team led by archaeologist Ernest Will and architect François Larché.