Pasargadae, the old capital of the Achaemenids located near today Shiraz, lies at a distance of 60 kilometers from Persepolis in today’s Fars province, Iran. There are a number of features at the site, including Persian Gardens, the Private Palace, the Gateway Palace, the Audience Palace, the Throne Hill, the Prison of Solomon, and last but not the least, the Pasargadae tomb of cyrus the Great. He founded the Persian Empire and was the first to rule it in the Achaemenid dynasty. This site is an UNESCO World Heritage site, inscribed in 2004. Pasargadae tomb of cyrus
Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenids. In the 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great commanded the construction of his capital which was still unfinished at the time of his death around 530 BC. Pasargadae remained the capital of Persia until Cambyses II moved it to Susa, and later Darius founded Persepolis. Pasargadae tomb of cyrus
Cyrus founded the first multicultural empire in Western Asia, spanning from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River. This diversity and multiculturalism are reflected in the Achaemenid architecture which is a synthetic representation of different cultures. Pasargadae tomb of cyrus
Darius I built Persepolis as a new capital. However, Pasargadae remained an important palace, probably as the religious capital of the Achaemenid Empire, where the inauguration of the kings took place. According to Strabo, the Roman geographer, Pasargadae was built on the site where king Cyrus defeated the leader of the Medes, Astyages, in 550 BC. The center of Pasargadae is Tall-iTakht or the ‘throne hill’, looking over the gardens in the south and the palace complex. Pasargadae tomb of cyrus
Inside this diverse capital, the mausoleum of Cyrusis situated a little to the southwest. Although later rulers venerated this tomb, but there is no firm evidence showing that this is indeed the burial place of Cyrus. Nevertheless, the Greek historians thought that Alexander believed it was so, since he ordered its restoration in 324 BC. Pasargadae tomb of cyrus
When Alexander attacked the Persian Empire, he visited the tomb of Cyrus. Supposedly, he entered the mausoleum and found a golden bed, a golden coffin, some ornaments and an inscription on the tomb. There is no trace of such an inscription today, but it most probably said:
“Passer-by, I am Cyrus, who gave the Persians an empire, and was king of Asia. Grudge me not therefore this monument.”
This is a direct reference to the importance of Cyrus as a great King in the ancient Persia. Pasargadae tomb of cyrus
How to Get There, What to Do
If you are interested in seeing a place in Iran where history took shape, you better put one day aside for going to Persepolis and Pasargadae; Persepolis is 60 km northeast of Shiraz and Pasargadae is even further than that. Starting from Shiraz early in the morning, you could visit both sites without haste. In summers, you should start before the heat reaches its peak, and in winters you should remember that days are shorter and it usually gets dark in the early evening. Also, the gate is only selling until 6:00 PM.
Chronologically it is preferable to visit Pasargadae first and those coming by road from Tehran will do so automatically. If you are going from Shiraz, it is better to go to Persepolis, then Naqsh-e Rostam which is a short ride away. You could spend the rest of the morning at Pasargadae and then come back for seeing Nagsh-e Rajab basking under the glorious afternoon light. Pasargadae tomb of cyrus
Take note that you should have sunglasses, preferably a cap and sunscreen lotion with you. The sun is usually shining bright in the sky, even in the winter days. If you are going there on your own, you should find a local driver. They know the best routes, the working hours and the fees. They could also entertain you with local tales and stories. There are no restaurants around Pasargadae, so take light rations with you.
Pasargadae tomb of cyrus