History of Pasargadae:
Cyrus the Great began building the capital in 546 BC or later; it was unfinished when he died in battle, in 530 or 529 BC. The remains of the tomb of Cyrus’ son and success or Cambyses II have been found in Pasargadae, near the fortress of Toll-e Takht, and identified in 2006.
Pasargadae remained the capital of the Achaemenid empire until Cambyses II moved it to Susa; later, Darius founded another in Persepolis. The archaeological site covers 1.6 square kilometres and includes a structure commonly believed to be the mausoleum of Cyrus, the fortress of Toll-e Takht sitting on top of a nearby hill, and the remains of two royal palaces and gardens. Pasargadae Persian Gardens provide the earliest known example of the Persian Chaharbagh , or fourfold garden design .
The Gate R, located at the eastern edge of the palace area, is the oldest known freestanding propylaeum. It may have been the architectural predecessor of the Gate of All Nations at Persepolis .
The most important monument in Pasargadae is the tomb of Cyrus the Great. It has six broad steps leading to the sepulchre, the chamber of which measures 3.17 m long by 2.11 m wide by 2.11 m high and has a low and narrow entrance. Though there is no firm evidence identifying the tomb as that of Cyrus, Greek historians say that Alexander believed it was. When Alexander looted and destroyed Persepolis, he paid a visit to the tomb of Cyrus. Arrian, writing in the second century AD, recorded that Alexander commanded Aristobulus, one of his warriors, to enter the monument. Inside he found a golden bed, a table set with drinking vessels, a gold coffin, some ornaments studded with precious stones and an inscription on the tomb. No trace of any such inscription survives, and there is considerable disagreement to the exact wording of the text. Strabo reports that it read:
Passer-by, I am Cyrus, who gave the Persians an empire, and was king of Asia.
Grudge me not therefore this monument.
Another variation, as documented in Persia: The Immortal Kingdom, is:
O man, whoever thou art, from wheresoever thou comest, for I know you shall come, I am Cyrus, who founded the empire of the Persians.
Grudge me not, therefore, this little earth that covers my body.
The design of Cyrus’ tomb is credited to Mesopotamian or Elamite ziggurats, but the cella is usually attributed to Urartu tombs of an earlier period. In particular, the tomb at Pasargadae has almost exactly the same dimensions as the tomb of Alyattes, father of the Lydian King Croesus; however, some have refused the claim (according to Herodotus, Croesus was spared by Cyrus during the conquest of Lydia, and became a member of Cyrus’ court). The main decoration on the tomb is a rosette design over the door within the gable. In general, the art and architecture found at Pasargadae exemplified the Persian synthesis of various traditions, drawing on precedents from Elam, Babylon, Assyria, and ancient Egypt, with the addition of some Anatolian influences
Archaeology of Pasargadae the tomb of Cyrus
The first capital of the Achaemenid Empire, Pasargadae lies in ruins 40’40 kilometers from Persepolis, in present-day Fars province of Iran.
Pasargadae was first archaeologically explored by the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld in 1905, and in one excavation season in 1928, together with his assistant Friedrich Krefter .Since 1946, the original documents, notebooks, photographs, fragments of wall paintings and pottery from the early excavations are preserved in the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. After Herzfeld, Sir Aurel Stein completed a site plan for Pasargadae in 1934. In 1935, Erich F. Schmidt produced a series of aerial photographs of the entire complex.
From 1949 to 1955, an Iranian team led by Ali Sami worked there. A British Institute of Persian Studies team led by David Stronach resumed excavation from 1961 to 1963. It was during the 1960s that a pot-hoard known as the Pasargadae Treasure was excavated near the foundations of ‘Pavilion B’ at the site. Dating to the 5th-4th centuries BC, the treasure consists of ornate Achaemenid jewelry made from gold and precious gems and is now housed in the National Museum of Iran and the British Museum. It has been suggested that the treasure was buried as a subsequent action once Alexander the Great approached with his army, then remained buried, hinting at violence.
After a gap, work was resumed by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization and the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée of the University of Lyon in 2000. The complex is one of the key cultural heritage sites for tourism in Iran.
1:Pasargadae is the first outstanding expression of the royal Achaemenid architecture.
2:The dynastic capital of Pasargadae was built by Cyrus the Great with a contribution by different peoples of the empire created by him. It became a fundamental phase in the evolution of the classic Persian art and architecture.
3:The archaeological site of Pasargadae, with its palaces, gardens, and the tomb of the founder of the dynasty, Cyrus the Great, represents an exceptional testimony to the Achaemenid civilisation in Persia.
4:The “Four Gardens” type of royal ensemble which was created in Pasargadae, became a prototype for Western Asian architecture and design.
Authenticity of Pasargadae
There is no doubt that Pasargadae the tomb of Cyrus represents the ancient capital of the Achaemenians, and is authentic in terms of its location and setting, materials and substance, and forms and design. The setting of Pasargadae has undergone no change over the course of time, and the site is part of an agricultural landscape that continues to be cultivated. Recent restoration work has respected the authenticity of the monuments, utilizing traditional technology and materials in harmony with the ensemble. No changes have been made to the general plan of Pasargadae, its buildings or its gardens. Moreover, there are no modern reconstructions at Pasargadae; the remains of all the monuments are authentic.
Protection and management requirements of Pasargadae the tomb of cyrus
The Pasargadae Ensemble was registered in the national list of Iranian monuments as item no. 19 on the 24th of the month Shahrivar, 1310 SAH (15 September 1931). Relevant national laws and regulations concerning the property include the National Heritage Protection Law (1930, updated 1998) and the 1980 Legal bill on preventing clandestine diggings and illegal excavations. The inscribed World Heritage property, which is owned by the Government of Iran, and its buffer zone are under the legal protection and management of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (which is administered and funded by the Government of Iran). The property and buffer zone are also under a regional master plan with its own regulations. The Pasargadae Management Plan was prepared in 2002 to provide guidance on preserving the value and significance of the archaeological and cultural landscape of this site. Pasargadae Research Base, a management and conservation office established in Pasargadae in 2001, is responsible for the investigation, conservation, restoration, reorganization, and presentation of Pasargadae. Upgrading training and skills is offered by the office in cooperation with universities and scientific institutes in Iran and abroad. Financial resources for Pasargadae are provided through national and provincial budgets, and site admission fees.
Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require examining, developing, and implementing methods for controlling erosion resulting from various factors (physical, chemical, environmental, etc.); minimising or eliminating any damage that may result from agriculture or from flooding; avoiding excavations that put the archaeological remains at increased risk; preventing damage caused by vandalism by training the guards and raising the awareness of local people; and preventing any improper expansion of the inhabited areas (villages, for instance) that may have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity or authenticity of the property.