The tomb of the founder of the largest empire in the history of the world, Cyrus the Great, is located in Pasargadae in southwestern Iran, about 130 km north of Shiraz. Cyrus, who is considered the most famous king of ancient Iran, chose Pasargadae as his capital and built the royal citadel, which is a collection of valuable works from palaces, residences, shrines and tombs. However, the most significant building of Pasargadae, is the tomb of Cyrus the Great, which we will introduce in the following.
Historical Monuments of Pasargadae
From the royal citadel of Pasargadae, many ancient monuments have been left that have been obtained in archeological excavations during different historical periods. These works are:
- Cyrus’s Tomb
- Audience Palace
- Private Palace
- Stone Tower or Solomon Prison
- Tel-e-Takht or the Throne of Solomon’s Mother
- Shrine or fire temple
- Remains of streams and garden waterways
- Remains of a bridge
- Cyrus Caravanserai of Mozaffari
But perhaps the most important of these is the tomb of Cyrus, which attracts many tourists from all over the world. Prior to archeological excavations at the Pasargadae site, locals attributed the remains to the prophet Solomon and considered the tomb of Cyrus to be the tomb of Solomon’s mother.
Tomb of Solomon’s mother
In the distant past, when ordinary people did not know the origin and main builder of a magnificent building such as Pasargadae or Persepolis, based on their little knowledge, they attributed it to great kings such as Jamshid or prophet Solomon. The Tomb of Cyrus was no exception to this rule and was attributed to the Tomb of Solomon’s mother.
During the long years that this place was known as the tomb of Solomon’s mother, the locals had interesting beliefs about this place. For example, some people thought that there was a spell in this place that made it impossible to stare at the building. Because staring at the tomb of the prophet’s mother blinds man!
Or, for example, the British travel writer Elliott Crouchia Williams writes that women and girls carried tin cans into the tomb to fulfill their emotional desires and hung them on a rope in the corner of the tomb to fulfill their desire.
The Dutch tourist Jan Strays also quotes that only women were allowed to enter the tomb and paid homage to it with special rituals.
Of course, there were also Iranian writers who attributed this building to mythical kings. For example, people like Forsat Al-Dawla and Hosseini Fasaei considered this tomb to be the grave of Jamshid’s mother.
Near the Tomb of Cyrus there is an ancient mound belonging to the period of Darius the Great. In the past, this mound was also known as the Throne of Solomon’s Mother, and this mound was known as the throne of Solomon’s mother.
But from about the beginning of the twelfth century AD, Iranologists and archaeologists scientifically and according to historical and archaeological documents announced that the building of the Solomon’s Mother, belongs to Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid dynasty.
Who was Cyrus?
Cyrus the Great was the son of Cambyses I and the granddaughter of Astyages, the last king of the Medes. Teispes, the son and successor of the Achaemenids and the ruler of the land of Persia, sought to strengthen his position in Iran by connecting with the family of the Medes. Thus Astyages, the last king of Medes, married his daughter Mandana to Cambyses I, and the result was Cyrus.
Greek historians tell a legend about the birth and upbringing of Cyrus, which is similar to other Iranian stories such as the story of Kaykhosrow and Ardeshir Sassanid. A legend mixed with myth that seems to have been common among ordinary people during the Achaemenid period.
The beginning of the power of Cyrus
Cyrus, who belonged to an aristocratic and powerful Persian family, revolted against his grandfather Astyages in his youth and finally dissolved the Median kingdom in 550 BC. Then came the conquest of Babylon and Lydia. Cyrus, with his special wisdom, was able to overcome these two great powers of that time. Cyrus the Great entered Babylon in 539 BC and was crowned there.
Cyrus also extended his territory to the east. He advanced to Transoxiana and conquered Merv, Sughd, and Kharazm.
Cyrus made Hamedan, Susa, and Babylon his capitals. He also decided to establish a luxurious residence in his fatherland in Persia. Thus, Pasargadae, which means Persian camp, was built and became the first Achaemenid capital in Persia
What is most famous in the kingdom of Cyrus is the conquest of Babylon, the liberation of slaves, and the freedom of religious and tolerance. In his charter, written in the Babylonian language, he recalls the conquest of Babylon and declares how he conquered Babylon and did not allow his armies to wreak havoc.
Cyrus frees the Jews
After the conquest of Babylon, Cyrus freed the Jews who had been taken captive to Babylon and had suffered much. In addition, he paid for the reconstruction of their shrine in Jerusalem. The Jews returned to Palestine with ease in a caravan of 40,000.
In the Torah and in the book of Isaiah, Cyrus is mentioned as follows: “The Lord says to Cyrus himself, I took his right hand to defeat the nations in his presence, and to open the land of the kings, to open the gates for him, and the gates not to be closed to him.”
The Death of Cyrus the Great
In the final years of Cyrus’ reign, the Massagetaes, a tribe of Persians that were related to Scythians, invaded the northeastern borders of Iran. Cyrus headed northeast to repel the invasion of these nomadic tribes.
At this time the queen of the Massagetaes, named Tomiris, deceived and trapped Cyrus, and he was defeated. The Achaemenid king was wounded in this battle and died three days later.
Tomb of Cyrus the Great
After Cyrus’ death, his body was brought to Pasargadae to be buried there. The king’s body was placed in a golden coffin and taken to the tomb. Inside the tomb was a table that short Persian swords, necklaces, and jeweled earrings were on it.
The interior of the tomb was also decorated with clothes and fabrics woven and sewn from Babylon. A small house was also planned for Moghan to be the nurse and guardian of the tomb from then on.
Tomb of Cyrus the Great Building
Many scholars believe that Cyrus built a tomb for himself before his death. This tomb is a rectangular room with a gabled roof and is built on a six-story platform. The building is made of carved white stone and is 11 meters high. The stones of the tomb are also fastened with tangled bundles.
Inside the tomb are two graves. One is said to belong to Cyrus the Great himself, and the other is from the descendants of the king and mother of Cambyses. The size of the tombs is about 2 meters by one meter and they are connected by a vestibule one meter long and 35 centimeters wide.
The tomb had a French door made of stone which pivots are still visible.
Many have thought that the shape of this tomb is reminiscent of nomadic tents. It should be noted that the Persians, like other Aryan tribes, were first nomads, and when they came to the Iranian plateau, they learned the manifestations of urbanization from the Elamites and the native tribes of the Iranian plateau. Therefore, it is not unlikely that the architecture of the tomb of Cyrus was inspired by the shape of nomadic tents.
Some believe that the shape of the tomb is reminiscent of Elamite ziggurats or Urartian temples that previously ruled in Iran.