Considering it’s the final resting place of such a majestic historical figure as Cyrus the Great, Pasagardae is so low key some suggest it’s not even worth visiting. But take no heed. Somehow, viewed from a hilltop with the sound of tinkling bells from grazing goat herds drifting across the valley, low-key adds presence to this stark reminder that even great kings end up as dust.
A few mounds, remnants of stone blocks and columns…all that remains of Cyrus the Great’s Pasagardae capital.
Cunieform inscription, palace column bas relief.
Despite the prominence of Persepolis, Pasargadae was actually Cyrus’ capital and remained so until his son Cambyses II moved it south to Susa, now Shush. This modest presence belies its former pre-eminence so the mind’s eye must envision the 1.6 sq km site with its gardens watered by canals of white stone, the 30-column central hall and the Audience Palace of which the cuneiform inscription, reading “I am Cyrus the Archaemenid king”, remains. The garden is one of the earliest examples of the classic Persian design.
Canals of white stone…the earliest Persian garden?
The Pasagardae ruins are among Iran’s swelling list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Like so many of the world’s heritage treasures the site has been degraded by subsequent conquerors, including the armies of Alexander the Great. But the actual tomb was saved from the early Arab invaders carrying the word of Islam by local villagers who played up the site as the tomb of Solomon’s mother.