Miles from nowhere, the 6th century BCE complex of Pasargadae was built by Cyrus the Great who was the first ruler of the Achaemenid Empire. Renowned for its centralized administration, respect for its diverse population and human rights, at its peak, the empire extended from the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the present day Pakistani-Indian border.
Pasargadae is one of 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Iran. The 160 hectare (400 acre) site comprises a citadel, two palaces and its gardens provide the earliest known example of the Persian chahar bagh, or fourfold garden design.
One of my favorite carvings is this one thought to represent Cyrus’s dominion over land and sea.
This winged creature has weathered the centuries remarkably well. Thought to be either a genie or an idealized portrait of Cyrus the Great, it’s a striking figure. You can see a detailed drawing and description here.
While not as well known or as grand as Persepolis, Pasargadae is well worth the visit!