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Pasargad: Persia’s 1st capital

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    Pasargad: Persia’s 1st capital

    Pasargad was the first dynastic capital of Achaemenid Empire, founded in Persia in 6th century BC.

    Its palaces, gardens and the tomb of Cyrus are outstanding examples of royal Achaemenid art and architecture, and exceptional testimonies of Persian civilization.

    Noteworthy vestiges in the 160-hectare site include the tomb of Cyrus II; Tal-e Takht, a fortified terrace; and a royal ensemble of gatehouse, audience hall, residential palace and gardens, UNESCO wrote.

    Pasargad was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in West Asia. Spanning the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River, it is considered the first empire that respected the cultural diversity of its different peoples. This was reflected in Achaemenid architecture, a synthetic representation of different cultures.

    It is the first outstanding expression of the royal Achaemenid architecture.

    Construction Phases

    The dynastic capital of Pasargad was built by Cyrus the Great in 6th century BC with contributions from different peoples of the empire created by him. It became a fundamental phase in the evolution of the classic Persian art and architecture.

    Pasargad represents the outstanding testimony to the Achaemenid civilization in Persia. The ‘Four Gardens’ type of royal ensemble created in Pasargad became a prototype for West Asian architecture and design.

    The town, located in the plain near Polvar River, is also denoted in its name: “the camp of Persia”.

    The core zone of the site is surrounded by a large landscape buffer zone. The core area contains the tomb of Cyrus the Great, which was built with white limestone around 540-530 BC.

    The tomb chamber, on the top, has the form of a simple gable house with a small opening from the west. In the medieval period, the monument was thought to be the tomb of Solomon’s mother and a mosque was built around it, using columns from the remains of the ancient palaces. A small prayer niche was carved in the tomb chamber.

    Tal-e Takht refers to the great fortified terrace platform built on a hill at the northern limit of Pasargad.

    This limestone structure was built with dry masonry, using large regular stone blocks and a jointing technique called anathyrosis, which was known in Asia Minor in the 6th century.


    Core Components

    The royal ensemble occupies the central area of Pasargad. It consists of several palaces originally located within a garden ensemble (the so-called ‘Four Gardens’).

    The color scheme of the architecture is given by the black and white stones used in its structure.

    The main body of the palaces comprises a hypostyle hall, to which are attached porticoes. The Audience Hall was built around 539 BC.

    The hypostyle hall has two rows of four columns. The column bases are in black stone and the column shafts in white limestone.

    The palace had a portico on each side. Some of the bas-reliefs at the doorways are preserved, showing human figures and monsters.

    The Residential Palace of Cyrus II was built around 535-530 BC; its hypostyle hall has five rows of six columns.

    The Gate House stands at the eastern limit of the core zone. It is a hypostyle hall with a rectangular plan. In one of the door jambs is the famous relief of the “winged figure”’

    In later periods, Tal-e Takht continued to be used as a fort, whereas the palaces were abandoned and the material was reused.



    (Source: Iran Daily)


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