One of the prominent and most well-known sites everyone visits while traveling to Shiraz is Pasargadae. Although Pasargadae is not inside the city and is almost an hour outside, the importance of this site in history made it a must-see attraction for every tourist who decides to travel to Iran.
A Brief History about Pasargadae
Pasargadae is located on the north side of Fars province between the Zagros mountain range. Pasargadae was a denizen even earlier than the presence of Achaemenids. However, it was also a place where Cyrus the Great conquered the last king of Medes and became the first king of Achaemenids. Therefore, he decided to make this place his kingdom capital. He employed the best architects and stonemason and carvers from Lydia to help him built such an opulent site which is still breathtaking after 2500 years. Although it is the oldest capital of the Achaemenids, it was the most innovative work of that time.
Pasargadae was the capital of Achaemenid Empire even after Cyrus death, while his son Cambyses II was the king. However, after a while he moved it to Susa and even later, Darius founded another in Persepolis. But even if the capital had relocated many times, Pasargadae was still important. Even when Alexander conquered Iran, Pasargadae and the Tomb of Cyrus were so honorable for him. Hence, he not only never damaged the site but also protected the place and the tomb for a long time.
The most notable and popular constructions in the Pasargadae Complex is as follows:
Without a doubt, the Tomb of Cyrus the Great is the most significant and popular monument on this site. It might even be the first reason why everyone decides to come and visit Pasargadae. The Tomb of Cyrus the Great is located on the southern part of the complex. It’s been said that it was built under his order and supervision. Its structure seems so simple which reminds the visitors of Elamite ziggurats. It has six stone steps on each side, and the tomb, which is like a chamber, is on its top.
Approximately 1 km northeast of the Tomb of Cyrus you can find the remaining of old palaces. Although today you can just see the pillars and stone columns of this palaces, they are still one of the most fascinating structures in this site. The main palace was the house of Cyrus. As its structure shows, it was as big as 3192 square meters. You can still see the carvings on its walls which show the king and his servants. On the east part of the palace, there is a stone bench which considered to be a place where the king (Cyrus the Great) was sitting and observing the green and lush view around his palace. There are 3 palaces in this complex. One of them is called the Gate Palace which considered to be the entrance to this site.
One of the most beautiful and unharmed remaining of the palaces in the Pasargadae complex is the figure of a winged man which has been carved on a tablet stone. The figure shows a man with a short beard, a crown on his head and four wings. The man in the picture is looking at the center of the palace, his right hand is open in front of his face which might be the figure of praising God or even a welcoming pose.
There is an inscription on top of this figure which is written in cuneiform. Its translation says “I am Cyrus, the king of the Achaemenids”. Although some might believe that it says the man in the figure is Cyrus, but others believe that it is just a form of introducing him as the king of this empire and is not saying that the man in the figure is Cyrus.
There is a place near the Tomb of Cyrus which is called the Mozaffarian Caravanserai. This place was constructed by the stones of Pasargadae Palaces during the Muzaffarid dynasty in the 14th century. After a while, it became a graveyard until the Pahlavi era. You can still see some of the graves have the stones that belong to the Pasargadae Palaces. Although some of them have been put in the Haft Tanan Museum in Shiraz.
The Stone Tower is one of the spectacular structures in this complex which still has unveiled secrets. This structure is as old as the Achaemenid Empire. Some believe this is the tomb of Cambyses II (Cyrus son), and the others consider it a fire temple or a place to worship. But as its plan and structure shows, it is mostly like a place to do ritual events or religious activities. In the Islamic courses, this place was called the Solomon’s Prison too.
The Stone Tower was a rectangularly shaped tower but today only one of its walls has remained. The height of the wall is 14 meters and it’s been placed on a three-step platform.
Toll e-Takht is the oldest structure in the Pasargadae complex. It was supposed to be the royal throne. However, Cyrus never had a chance to use it because he died years before its constructions finished.
As Pasargadae site is far from Shiraz it is not close to any attractions but you can visit Persepolis Site which is 78 km away from Pasargadae, Naghsh-e-Rostam in 73 km, and Naghsh-e-Rajab in 71 km of this attraction. Usually, the tourists visit all the four sites in one day.
Pasargadae complex is at least an hour far away from the city of Shiraz. There is no public transport that can get you to this attraction. Therefore your best choice might be taking a tour of this historical and wonderful site. If you would like to take a tour of this UNESCO world heritage site, we can offer you a great tour to UNESCO World-Heritage sites in Iran. This tour will take 15 days and you can see all the Iranian sites which have been listed in UNESCO.
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