Delving into Pasargad: The Confluence of Myth and Reality

The historical site of Pasargad is one of the remaining relics from the Achaemenid era, located in the Pasargad region of Fars province. This site, the seventh registered country monument on the World Heritage List, was established in 550 BC during the Achaemenid period.
What is Pasargad and why is it significant?

Pasargad was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC. It is best known for its unique combination of various architectural styles and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, which has become a symbol of Persian cultural identity and continuity. The site holds significant archaeological and historical value, representing the early expressions of Persian art and architecture.

Visitors to Pasargad will find several key monuments including the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, the Pasargad Royal Garden and its complex irrigation system, the Audience Hall, the Residential Palace, and several bas-reliefs that depict figures and ancient scripts. Each structure offers a glimpse into the sophisticated urban planning and ceremonial architecture of the early Persian empire.

When planning a visit to Pasargad, it’s advisable to wear comfortable walking shoes as there is considerable ground to cover on foot. The site is exposed and can get very hot and sunny, so hats, sunscreen, and water are must-haves. It is also beneficial to either hire a guide or use an audio guide to gain a deeper understanding of the site’s rich history.

Yes, there is a modest entrance fee to access Pasargad. This fee contributes to the preservation and maintenance of this ancient site. Fees may vary for domestic and international visitors.

The best time to visit Pasargad is during the spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). During these months, the weather is more temperate, making it easier to explore the extensive grounds of the site.

 The Tomb of Cyrus the Great is revered not only as the resting place of one of history’s greatest rulers but also as a symbol of human rights. Cyrus is celebrated for his achievements in human rights, empire-building, and his respect for the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. This respect and tolerance have made him a lasting figure in history and a point of pride for many Iranians.

Photography for personal use is generally allowed at Pasargad without any restrictions. However, if you plan to use professional equipment or shoot for commercial purposes, you may need to obtain permission from the site management in advance.

Frequently Asked Questions: Exploring Pasargad

The historical site of Pasargad is one of the remaining relics from the Achaemenid era, located in the Pasargad region of Fars province.

This site, the seventh registered country monument on the World Heritage List, was established in 550 BC during the Achaemenid period.

The historical site of Pasargad, built by the order of Cyrus the Great, includes the tomb of Cyrus, the Palace of the Winged Man, the Audience Palace, the Private Palace, and a structure famously known as Solomon’s Throne.

Cyrus’s tomb is situated among royal gardens and is built from massive stones, some up to seven meters long.

The tomb has two distinct parts: a six-stepped platform with a rectangular base measuring 165 square meters and a small room measuring 7.5 square meters with walls 1.5 meters thick.

The entrance to the tomb is located on the northwest side and is 75 centimeters wide.

Cyrus’s Private Palace is another building in the historical site of Pasargad, situated 1,300 meters northwest of Cyrus’s tomb.

Parts of this palace include a central hall, two courtyards on the north and south, two porches on the west and east, and a trilingual inscription in Elamite, Old Persian, and Babylonian, stating “I am Cyrus, the Achaemenid king,” which remains on the only stone base of this palace.

Solomon’s Prison is another beautiful Pasargad monument dating back to the early Achaemenid era. It’s a square tower-like structure known as Solomon’s Prison in the Islamic period. Now, only one wall of it remains.

After the assassination of Cyrus the Great in the war against the Scythians or northern Iranians, his body was mummified placed in a golden bed, and significant royal and military items were laid beside him. During Alexander the Great’s invasion, someone had vandalized the tomb, looting its items and desecrating the corpse.

Two large holes are present on the slope of the tomb’s roof, made to lighten the stones and reduce the roof’s load. Some mistakenly believed these to be the resting places of Cyrus and his spouse.

Until about a hundred years ago, this structure was believed to be the tomb of Prophet Solomon’s mother. During the Atabakan era in the Buyid dynasty, using the remaining columns of ancient palaces, a mosque named “Atabaki Mosque” was built around it, and a small Mihrab was carved in the tomb’s treasury. In the 1970s, the remnants of the mosque were cleaned, and historical pieces were returned to their original places.

Throughout the Achaemenid era, Cyrus’s tomb was considered sacred. This reverence continued in the Islamic period. However, the original interpretation of the building became unclear. People also thought the construction of majestic stone buildings beyond human capability, attributing them to Prophet Solomon, known to have Jinn working on his challenging tasks. For this reason, they regarded Cyrus’s tomb as one of Solomon’s structures, associating it with his mother and naming it “the Shrine of Solomon’s Mother.”

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