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Pasargadae travel guide

The dynastic capital of Pasargadae was built by Cyrus the Great during 6th century BC with contributions from different peoples of the empire created by him. It became a fundamental phase in the evolution of the classic Persian art and architecture. With its palaces, gardens, and the tomb of the founder of the dynasty, Cyrus the Great, Pasargadae represents exceptional testimony to the Achaemenid civilisation in Persia. The 'Four Gardens' type of royal ensemble created in Pasargadae became a prototype for Western Asian architecture and design.Pasargadae is located in the plain on the river Polvar, in the heart of Pars, the homeland of the Persians. The position of the town is also denoted in its name: 'the camp of Persia'.

tomb of cyrustomb of Cyrus the Great, pasargadae,Iran

Tomb of Cyrus the Great

The tomb of Cyrus the great structurally consists of two distinct elements: a high platform composed of six receding levels and a tomb chamber on the top with a steep-pitched gable roof is in form of a simple house with a small opening from the west side. The entire monument, which originally reached almost eleven meters in height, is constructed in massive ashlars masonry with few decorative moldings and designs, creating an overall effect of simplicity of lines combined with volumetric solidness. The rectangular platform is composed of two visually distinct portions; the lower three steps each measure about one meter in height, while the upper three steps are just about half that height.
Although the overall design continues to convey a vital sense of honesty and sanctity, it has been suggested that the idea for the platform and for a completely stepped structure has been inspired from the Babylonian and Elamite ziggurats.
In the medieval period, the monument was thought to be the tomb of Solomon's mother.
a small mosque was built near tomb by using columns from the remains of the ancient palaces. this mosque was in use until the 14th century. During 10th century, In the 1970s during a restoration, the remains of the mosque were taken back to the place they belong to, and the ancient fragments were deposited close to their original location.

The core zone of this outstanding ensemble of palaces is surrounded by a large landscape buffer zone containing several monuments:

Mozaffari Carvansarai 

Located about 100 m north of the tomb of Cyrus, is the Mozaffari caravanserai or hostel. It was made of the transported stones from the Achaemenid monuments of Pasargadae. The plan is a square 45.20 x 40.30 m. A series of rooms are organized around a court of 18.50 x 16.50. The monument was built under Shah Shoj'a (1358-1374 A.D.), one of the famous rulers of the Mozaffari dynasty in Fars, who was one of the patrons and supporters of the celebrated Iranian poet, Hafez. Some scholars believe that it was a religious school or madrassa which formed a religious center in the proximity of the Mausoleum of Mother of Salomon (namely the Mausoleum of Cyrus) after the construction of the mosque around the tomb. It was disaffected later and became a caravanserai probably in the late 18th/early 19th century. In 1951, Ali Sami then director of the excavations at Pasargadae restored and reconstructed the ruined caravanserai to become the site’s excavation house and offices.

pasargad caravanseraiMozaffari Carvansarai ,Pasargadae

The royal ensemble occupying the central area of Pasargadae consists of several palaces originally located within a garden ensemble (the so-called 'Four Gardens'). The colour scheme of the architecture is given by the black and white stones used in its structure. The main hall of the palaces is formed of a hypostyle hall, to which are attached porticoes.

Private Palace of Cyrus the Great

the Private Palace has a similar plan to other Palaces of Pasargadae with a central columned hall sliced open by stone doorways in all four walls. although just the west and east (the right and left hand) sides were fronted by porticoes.
The low roof of this hall and a large number of columns, arranged in five rows of six, undoubtedly were composed to create a more intimate environment than that found in the great hall of any other palace.
This Residential Palace of Cyrus was built 535-530 BCE.

pasaragad private palaceThe Residential Palace of Cyrus the great, pasargadae

Pasargadae Audience Hall

The Audience Hall was built around 539 BCE. this hypostyle hall has two rows of four columns. The base of column are in black stone however the column shafts are from white limestone. The capitals were in black stone. There is evidence of a capital representing a hybrid, horned and crested lion. The palace had a portico on each side. Some of the bas-reliefs of the doorways are preserved, showing human figures and monsters.there is a cuniform inscription on one of the walls that says : I am Cyrus, the achaemenid King

audience hall pasargadae

Stone tower

Stone tower or tower and Ka’ba is a fourteen-meter-high tower still boasts a more or less intact entrance façade built almost exclusively by finely cut slabs of white limestone with the striking exception of three rows of windows that are in dark limestone. The location of the windows is visibly not related to the interior plan of the building, which was a single room raised above almost eight meters of solid masonry. 
The function of this stone tower is not clear yet but it is believed that the building could have been a fire temple, tomb of Cyrus 1, treasure trove, or investiture tower.

pasargad stone tower

Tal-e Takht

The Tal-e Takht refers to a great fortified terrace platform on a hill at the northern limit of Pasargadae built In later period. This limestone structure is built from dry masonry, using large regular stone blocks and a jointing technique called anathyrosis, which was known in Asia Minor in the 6th century. The first phase of the construction was built by Cyrus the Great, halted at his death in 530 BCE. The second phase was built under Darius the Great (522-486 BCE), using mud brick construction.

tal-e takht

Pasargadae Gardens

The magnificent regularity signifying the universe is used to express the king's power. What results from a survey of gardens in Mesopotamia show that gardens built in the Achaemenid period were used to represent the country's political power, and were designed in a way to make it possible for tributaries and taxpayers to understand that they were ruled by a powerful ruler. 

pasargad garden
Left: Imaginative Pasargadae gardens reconstruction Image  excavated irrigation water channels            Right: Excavated irrigation channels of Pasargadae gardens