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Persian Archeological Sites: Pasargadae & Tas Kule

When you’re interested in exploring some of the archeological sites associated with the Persian Empire, the ancient city of Pasargadae is an exceptional option if you’re a fan of Cyrus the Great. It is here that the tomb of the former leader is believed to dwell. In this article, you will also learn of another tomb site associated with the Persian Empire.

Pasargadae (Iran)

The ancient capital city of Pasargadae was constructed by Cyrus II (also known as Cyrus the Great) during the 6th century BC. It dates back to the Achaemenid Dynasty when the Persian Empire was establishing itself as an emerging civilization. Today, the archeological site is on the list of Iran’s World Heritage Sites.

The first archeological exploration of Pasargadae was conducted by German Ernst Herzfeld in 1905. In 1928, he explored the city more extensively with the help of his assistant to product the findings that are now preserved in the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC. You can pay a visit to the original documents, notebooks, photography, fragments of wall paintings, and pottery associated with the early excavations.

The most important attraction of Pasargadae is the tomb of Cyrus the Great. Six broad steps lead to the sepulcher with a chamber that measures 3.17 m long by 2.11 m wide by 2.11 m high. Beyond the low and narrow entrance, supposedly Cyrus the Great is buried although there is no concrete evidence to show that it is his tomb. Greek historians claim that it is his final resting place because Alexander III of Macedon believed it so.

Alexander looted and destroyed Persepolis, but also went to the tomb of Cyrus. The documentation created by Arrian stated that Alexander commanded one of his warriors Aristobulus to enter the monument. Inside, a golden bed was found, golden coffin, table set with drinking vessels, objects decorated with precious stones, and an inscription of the tomb. No such inscription has been found to this day, but ancient texts have supplied varying interpretations of the wording.

Cyrus the Great started on the construction of the capital city in 546 BC or later. It was unfinished when he died in battle in 530 or 529 BCE. In addition to Cyrus’ remains, the tomb of his son and successor, Cambyses II is also laid to rest at the site.
Tas Kule (Turkey)

Carved out of an outcrop of limestone bedrock in a valley floor, Tas Kule is a tomb that serves as a freestanding monument. There are no longer any contents kept in the tomb, but it does offer a glimpse into the kinds of architectural styles that existed during the Achaemenid period. To pay a visit to this attraction, you may travel seven kilometers east of the ancient Lycian and Greek town of Phokaia.