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 tell us that Alexander III of Macedon believed it was so. When Alexander looted and destroyed Persepolis, he paid a visit to the tomb of Cyrus.
Pasargadae was a city in ancient Persia, and is today an archaeological site and one of only five of Iran's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. According to the Elamite cuneiform of the Persepolis fortification tablets the name was rendered as Batrakataš, and the name in current usage derives from a Greek transliteration of an Old Persian Pâthragâda toponym of still-uncertain meaning.
The first capital of the Achaemenid Empire, Pasargadae, lies in ruins 43 kilometers from Persepolis, in present-day Fars province of Iran. The construction of the capital city by Cyrus the Great, begun in 546 BCE or later, was left unfinished, for Cyrus died in battle in 530 BCE or 529 BCE. The tomb of Cyrus' son and successor, Cambyses II, also has been found in Pasargadae. The remains of his tomb, located near the fortress of Toll-e Takht, were identified in 2006.
Pasargadae remained the Persian capital until Darius founded another in Persepolis. The modern name comes from the Greek, but may derive from an earlier one used during Achaemenid times, Pâthragâda, meaning the garden of Pars.
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. The gardens provide the earliest known example of the Persian chahar bagh, or four-fold garden design.
Admission IR4,000 (May 2008). You need to have transportation to get around because teh ruins is hugh to walk. The most important monument in Pasargadae is the tomb of Cyrus the Great.
See more pics for the ruins.
This bulding was identical to one which can be seen at Naqsh-e Rostam. It is not sure what was the purpose of the bulding. Maybe it was a fire temple, maybe treasure house or tomb of son of Cyrus the Great.
I took a day trip by taxi from Shiaz to Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostam, Naqsh-e Rajab, Pasargadae. The taxi is arrnaged by Anvari Hotel in Shiaz. It costs IR450,000 per car (May 2008). We started out at 7:30am and went back to hotel at 2pm. The whole duration time included about 30 mins sight-seeing in Pasargadae, 20 mins in Naqsh-e Rostam, 10 mins in
Naqsh-e Rajab and 2 hours in Persepolis.
The place in Pasargadae is vast and sites are scatters around. So the driver has to drive you from site to site.
Without Pasargadae, the taxi will cost IR300,000. It is a good 40 mins one way addition to Pasargadae from Persepolis.
However, if you want some savings, try to go to Par Tour agency as I found out from them that they have group tour to Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostam only for EUR10 (May 2008) per person.
I rented the car in Pars tourist office - http://www.key2persia.com/. I paid for 60 usd for the trip. The driver was very nice man speaking average English. In Pasargadae he explained some facts about the places we visited. He even made a quick stop in Abarqu, so I was able very quickly to see few interesting places there.
In Shiraz I asked at the hotel for a tour to Pasargadae, Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab. They called a driver, who picked me up outside the hotel at 8.00 the following morning. The driver talked non-stop all the way about his life and life in Iran. It was very interesting, but I missed the scenery along the road. At the sites he asked if I wanted him to come along to guide, but I prefer to walk around alone.
We first drove to Pasargadae, which is more far away. In Pasargadae it is good to have a car as the ruins are spread out. At Naqsh-e Rajab it took about 15 minutes and at Naqsh-e Rostam I got 30 minutes (had to hurry back). I got two or three hours at Persepolis (can‘t remember), but if I wanted to stay longer I was going to pay more. For the tour I paid IR 350 000 (July 2006).
In Yazd I met some people who had taken a car from Shiraz in the morning and during the day visited all four sites and after drove on to Yazd. The price was IR 500 000 (July 2006), and I heard it was the same going the other way round.
Seeing the sites along the way between Yazd and Shiraz, instead of making a daytrip from Shiraz and another day take a bus between the cities, will save you a day.
Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire (Achaemenid Empire). It is a complex of palaces built on a stone terrace, 14 metres above the surrounding plain. Work with Persepolis begun around 518 BC, when Darius I was king, and it was added to during the next 150 years.
Especially during the New Year celebrations (Noruz) delegates from all over the empire came to Persepolis to pay homage to the kings. As Persepolis was more for ceremonial use the kings did not stay here all year round, but spent much time in their palaces in other cities.
The glory of Persepolis came to an end when it was occupied by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. Alexander plundered the city of all its treasures and he burned it down (it is not known if that was an accident or not).
Persepolis is an Unesco World Heritage Site and it really deserves it. It is one of the best surviving masterpieces of the Ancient Near East. For centuries the city was covered with sand and not until 1930 largely excavated. The quality of the many stone reliefs, almost 2500 years, old are magnificent
Persepolis is situated 53 km north east of Shiraz.
Naqsh-e Rajab can be visited on the same day tour as Pasargadae. It is a small site 3 km north of Persepolis, and it is near to Naqsh-e Rostam as well. Here you will find four early Sassanian bas-reliefs, which are important cultural remains. In the reliefs are motifs from the lives of Ardeshir Baabakaan (who was the founder of Sassanian Dynasty) and Shapur I (a great Sassanian king). One relief shows the coronation of Ardeshir Baabakaan when he receives the ring of kingship from the God Ahuramazda. Inscriptions beside the relief says “The zorastrian faith had died out I, the king of kings, re-established it”. Another relief shows how Shapur I, on horse, receives the ring of kingship.
Entrance fee when I visited was IR 2000 (July 2006).
The site is open till 7pm in summer (5pm in winter).