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Pasargadae

Brief Synthesis

Founded in the 6th century BC in the heartland of the Persians (today the province of Fars in southwestern Iran), Pasargadae was the earliest capital of the Achaemenid (First Persian) Empire. The city was created by Cyrus the Great with contributions from the different peoples who comprised the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia. The archaeological remains of its palaces and garden layout as well as the tomb of Cyrus constitute an outstanding example of the first phase of the evolution of royal Achaemenid art and architecture, and an exceptional testimony to the Achaemenid civilisation in Persia. The “Four Gardens” type of royal ensemble, which was created in Pasargadae, became a prototype for Western Asian architecture and design.

The 160-ha archaeological site of Pasargadae presents some of the earliest manifestations of Persian art and architecture. It includes, among other monuments, the compact limestone tomb on the Morgab plain that once held Cyrus the Great’s gilded sarcophagus; Tall-e Takht (“Solomon’s Throne”), a great fortified platform built on a hill and later incorporated into a sprawling citadel with substantial mud-brick defences; and the royal ensemble, which consists of several palaces originally located within a garden layout (the so-called “Four Gardens”). Pasargadae became a prototype for the Persian Garden concept of four quadrants formally divided by waterways or pathways, its architecture characterised by refined details and slender verticality.

Pasargadae stands as an exceptional witness to the Achaemenid civilisation. 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.

Criterion (i):Pasargadae is the first outstanding expression of the royal Achaemenid architecture.

Criterion (ii):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.

Criterion (iii):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.

Criterion (iv):The “Four Gardens” type of royal ensemble which was created in Pasargadae, became a prototype for Western Asian architecture and design.

Ministry of foreign affairs,
Islamic Republic of IRAN,
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