Tomb of Cyrus the Great

“O man, I am Cyrus, who founded the Empire of the Persians, and am the king of Asia, do not feel exasperation or jealousy against me or this monument” The tomb of Cyrus the Great is the only monument at Pasargadae that is described by the Greek historians and later by the travelers. Strabo, contemporary with the Christ, following Aristobulus the Alexander officer, described the tomb of Cyrus the Great as follows:

 “and there he [Alexander] saw the tomb of Cyrus in a paradise [royal garden], a tower of no great size, hidden beneath the shade of trees, in its lower parts massive, but in its upper part having a roof and a shrine, a golden couch and a table with drinking-cups, and a golden coffin…”

The tomb structurally consists of two distinct elements: a high platform composed of six receding levels and a tomb chamber with a steep-pitched gable roof. 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.

The huge stones are set up without mortar; the masons rest on an advanced jointing technique called anathyrosis that was reinforced with the help of Iron clamps. In this technique, smooth bands are usually left around three sides of each jointing surface while the central parts of the stone are left rough and slightly recessed. The result is a tight joint that is perfectly stable and the product of the minimum use of labor.

Cladious Rich who visited the tomb in 1821 says: “the very honorable appearance of this ruin instantly made me feel great respect mixed with fear. I found that I had no right conception and understanding of it. I sat for near an hour on the steps, thinking about it until the moon rose on it and I began to think that this, in reality, must be the tomb of the best, the most illustrious, well known, respected and admired of all oriental sovereigns”.

  • Cyrus Tomb 1
  • Cyrus Tomb 3
  • Cyrus Tomb 4
  • Cyrus Tomb 5
  • Cyrus Tomb 6
  • Cyrus Tomb 7
  • Cyrus Tomb 9
  • Tomb of Cyrus the Great
  • Tomb of Cyrus the Great