Tourism Tips


The earliest known major settlement of the Persians is the grand capital and the last resting place of Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC), located 40 km to the northeast of Persepolis in the fertile and well-irrigated land of Dasht-e Murghab, with the elevation of 1900 meters above the sea level. Although all that survived of the building are the stone foundations and some bases of columns, the upper parts of the walls must have been formed of mud-brick, possibly positioned in the manner of the Gate of Xerxes.

According to the classical historians such as Strabo, “Cyrus honored Pasargadae since it was the battle field where he conquered Astyages, the last Mede king; and in order to commemorate this occasion that presented him the kingdom of Asia, he ordered the construction of the palaces there.”

Considering the original name of the palace, Batrakatash/Pätrakata, the title appeared on the Elamite fortification inscriptions found at Persepolis, it interestingly resembles Pasargadai, the Greek name used as late as the fourth century BC for calling Cyrus the Great’s capital.

 Batra-katash and Pasar-gadai point to an original Old Persian record Pāthra-gadā interpreted by scholars differently as “protective home” or “strong club”, the Elamite inscriptions support both translations, as they show that there were royal treasury and coffer at Batrakatash. It was also the seat of a priest who received rations for divine sacrifices.

Pasargadae the capital of Cyrus the Great, when developed,  could be visualized as a complex of splendid garden pavilions and palaces in a Royal Paradise that were created by recruitment of architects and artists from all over the empire such as Persia, Babylon, Ionia, and Lydia, mostly between the years 546 and 530 BC. Today only small portions of the stone elements have remained. Erection of these stone structures were mostly carried out by the Ionian architects (Greeks settled on Aegean Seaside in Asia Minor); while there are direct evidences from the art of western territories of the kingdom such as Syria, Egypt and Assyria (an effective civilization domain where its center today is in the Iraqi Kurdistan and Mosul region) that clearly illustrate the artistic impressibility of these civilizations as well.

The plan of the Pasargadae palaces consists of a central columned reception hall with porches on four sides. This architectural style is marking a significant innovation in the long-established Near Eastern architectural history where just one side is created as the main and focal axis. This dominant architectural tradition in the Near East gave way to a truly open and symmetrical four-sided structure for millennia.

After the death of Cyrus in 530 BCE, Darius the Great decided to construct the palaces and building complex of Persepolis a little over a decade later but Pasargadae at all times and to the end of the Achaemenid era remained as the Cyrus the Great memorial, an important place for the Achaemenid Kings inaugurations, and a place with ancestral and spiritual values.