Tomb of Cyrus the Great/Pasargad
Fars, Iran (Islamic Republic of)


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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 3.17m long by 2.11m wide by 2.11m high and has a low and narrow entrance. Though there is no firm evidence identifying the tomb as that of Cyrus, Greek historians tell that Alexander III of Macedon believed it was. When Alexander looted and destroyed Persepolis, he paid a visit to the tomb of Cyrus. Arrian, writing in the second century of the common era, 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.

Cyrus the Great began building his capital in 546 BCE or later; it was unfinished when he died in battle, in 530 or 529 BCE. The remains of the tomb of Cyrus' son and successor, Cambyses II, has been found in Pasargadae, near the fortress of Toll-e Takht, and identified in 2006.

Pasargadae remained the Persian capital 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 Garden provide the earliest known example of the Persian chahar bagh, or fourfold garden design.

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