Pasargadae, Paradise


Pasargadae: one of the oldest residences of the Achaemenid kings, founded by Cyrus the Great (r.559-530). It resembled a park of 2x3 km in which several monumental buildings were to be seen.

Pavilion B

Gate R, the Audience Hall ("palace S") and the residential Palace P of Pasargadae were situated in a large garden - the ancient Iranian word is *paradaiza, "something surrounded by a wall", and our word "paradise" is derived from this original. In fact, it is best to imagine the buildings of Pasargadae as a group of pavilions in a park.

Except for Palace P and Palace S, there were more pavilions, like the one shown on the first photo, which is simply called Pavilion B. Another pavilion, A, was an exact copy of B and was on the opposite side of the park.

Water channels

The garden had several small channels and must have been very green. It was more than just a nice and lofty place to stay on a hot afternoon: the king here presented himself as a gardener, as the man who brought culture to the wilderness. Gardens and parks were, in other words, an important element of the royal ideology.

Close to Pavilion B, the excavators found a large treasure of no less than 1162 pieces silver and gold, including necklaces, bracelets, and golden earrings. These were perhaps buried by one of the latest Achaemenids when Alexander the Great approached the site in the first weeks of 330; the man or woman who buried this treasure, did not survive to recover it - which suggests that there was more violence than is indicated in our sources.