Tomb of Cyrus

Tomb of Cyrus

Tomb of Cyrus

In the middle of the Iranian desert, in the ancient town of Pasargadae, stands the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, a monument to one of the most important rulers in Persian history.

Cyrus was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Western Asia and much of Central Asia. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.

Pasargadae stands as an exceptional witness to the Cyrus the Great. The vast Achaemenid Empire, which extended from the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River in India, is considered the first empire to be characterised by a respect for the cultural diversity of its peoples. This respect was reflected in the royal Achaemenid architecture, which became a synthesized representation of the empire’s different cultures. Pasargadae represents the first phase of this development into a specifically Persian architecture which later found its full expression in the city of Persepolis.

The tomb is believed to be the oldest base-isolated structure and also one of the first earthquake-protected structures in the world. It consists of two sections – a lower part and an upper part. The design of the lower part of the tomb is credited to Mesopotamian or Elamite ziggurats (massive structures built for local religions.

The upper part contains the tomb chamber itself, which is similar to those of the Urartu Tombs of the Iron Age period. Next to the chamber is another room but the exact function of this room remains unknown. After the tomb’s construction, this type of architecture became more prominent throughout Persia. Compared to those of other ancient kings and rulers, the design of the tomb depicts extreme modesty and simplicity.

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