Pasargadae was the Achaemenid capital before the foundation of Persepolis, and is famous today as the site of the marble tomb of Cyrus the Great (558–530BC), which sits on a high, stepped plinth on a river plain near the hilltop fortress of Toll e-Takht. Overlooked by most visitors, the monument has retained the lonely serenity enjoyed by Ernst Herzfeld, Aurel Stein and the other archaeologists who first explored the region in the early 20th century. Nearby, the dishevelled ruins of a palace and temple are virtually all that remains of a once splendid city, which lay deserted after the Achaemenid departure.

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