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Pasargadae

PASARGADAE

The first capital of the Iranian tribes and the Achaemenid empire, Pasargedae is situated between the present-day Marvdasht and Saadat Abad 130 Km. to the northeast of Shiraz, not far from Isfahan – Shiraz highway and 80 Km. from
Persepolis. The nearby village is called Madar-e Suleiman ( The mother of Solomom ) in much the same legendary way as Persepolis is known as Takht –e- Jamshid ( The throne of Jamshid ). But there is no mythology about Cyrus the Great (550 – 530 BC)and his som Cambyses II (530 – 521 BC) who created the military encampment and associated buildings that the visitor now sees, with a clear influence of the Mesopotamian Ziggurat.

Cyrus the Great defeated his overlord and Grandfather, King Astyages on this field in 550 BC and decided to make his headquarters here. There is a building here which is generally agreed that it is the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, built (546 BC) during his lifetime. This 12-m high imposing stepped tomb of Cyrus, symbolizing in its somber linearity the simplicity and greatness that made the man a potential world conquer or dominates Pasargadae as the Builder deserves. It consists of a small chamber borne by a basement of six courses that diminish upwards, so as to form steps. The tomb is entirely built of megalithic stone.

Originally the Magi, guardians of Cyrus’s tomb, lived within the surrounding gardens in separate dwelling. The interior of the mausoleum was richly furnished; the embalmed body of the king lay in a golden sarcophagus on a gold couch, with a gold table by its side, on which various treasures were laid. Alexander the Great made several pilgrimages to the tomb, the last after it had been despoiled during his absence in India.

Various classical writers mention an inscription on the tomb, no trace of which remains. According to Strabo this read: “O man, I am Cyrus who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of Asia. Grudge me therefore not this monument".

In ancient times it was surrounded by a portico, some bases of which can still be seen. The massive monolithic door of the buried chamber (now missing) could only be opened from the inside but the ingenious robbers had prized up a stone at the threshold and wringgled underneath the door. The contents of this tomb which Alexander visited were looted during the disorders which followed the latter's departure for Bactriana and India, in spite of a permanent guard of Magi, who received a sheep daily and a horse every month.

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