Many Brazilians know about the famous poem “I am going away to Pasargadae” by Manuel Bandeira. We have all learned it at school and carried with us the idea of running away to the utopic city, where existence is an adventure and we are friends of the king. Each one of us have built our own Pasargadae in ours imagination, but almost no one knows that the city actually exists and it is in Iran.
Pasargadae means “City of Persians“. It was the capital of the Persian Empire, the biggest empire the world has seen.
Cyrus, the Great, the king who founded the empire, built the city around 500 BC. Unfortunately, only ruins are left from the sumptuous city. Whoever pays a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site today, near the city of Shiraz, will see the enormous and relatively well-kept Cyrus, the Great tomb as well as the ruins of two palaces, a fort and a garden.
The Persian gardens were so beautiful that they are mentioned in many ancient books and they are still influencing architectures’ projects worldwide. They were called “Paradisia“, and that’s where the word “paradise” comes from.
Cyrus is considered one of the most intelligent rulers of history. His political as well as military capabilities are still praised and studied – he was the one who created the notion of federalism. In addition, the Persian king is also renowned for his humanitarian ideals and it is even said that he wrote the first chapter of the human rights in the famous Cyrus Cylinder. Besides being the first one to abolish slavery, Cyrus also respected the minor cultures and religion beliefs of tribes under his command. Many called him “The Father”.
The poem of Pasargadae
Manuel Bandeira heard the name Pasargadae for the first time when he was 16 years old, reading a book by a Greek author. The name of the City of Persians reminded him of good things, of a place of tranquillity and beauties. Years later, in his apartment, during a moment of sadness and anxiety, he had the idea of “vou-me embora pra Pasárgada” (I am going away to Pasargadae) and then wrote the poem that surrounds great part of the imagination of Brazilian´s population up to date.
The Pasargadae by Manuel Bandeira does not have many similarities with the one from Cyrus, the Great. But we confess it was exciting to get to know the utopic city which many times we have imagined as a child. We went away to Pasargadae and came back…
Nowadays, neither the fantasy of the author nor the important capital of the Persian Empire convinced us. Our Pasargadae has been the world and that is where we want to go, living out of adventures and with no need of being friends of the king!
How to get to Pasargadae
To go to Pasargadae, the best way is to go to the closest bookshop and buy the book of poetry by… Oh, wait. we are talking about the real Pasargadae!
Pasargadae is 130km from Shiraz, one of the biggest city of Iran. Shiraz has an international airport, but it is also reachable by road. The Iranian buses are extremely comfortable and cheap. Check out our complete guide of what to do in Iran to know a full view of the country.
In Shiraz, there are many travel companies which will charge about $50 per person for a whole day trip, which include a visit to Pasargadae, Persepolis (the Persian most important capital) and Necropolis (The Iranian city of the dead, where you find the four Persian king’s tombs, including Darius, the Great). The price includes transport, lunch, guide and tickets.
For those on a budget travel, this same itinerary can be done on your own by taking those shared taxis at the bus station. The price of the car for about 6h, taking you to all of those destinies, goes for about $40 in total. It does not include the entrance for the attractions, but they cost about $1 to $5 each.
Poem “The Pasargadae” by Manuel Bandeira
I’m leaving for Pasargadae There, I am the king’s friend Have the woman I want In the bed that I choose
I’m leaving for Pasargadae
I am leaving because Here I am not happy Life there is adventure And so very inconsequent, that A queen of Spain, Joan the Mad Becomes my relative, through The daughter in law I never had
How I’ll do calisthenics Cycle riding Wild donkey taming Climb greasy poles Do some sea bathing!
When feeling tired I’ll lie by the river bank Send for a Siren To retell the old tales Those spun by Rose When I was a child
I’m leaving for Pasargadae
There, you have everything Another civilization With a safe-proof system For the dangers of conception
Automatic phone booths Alkaloids for the asking Good looking harlots With whom to romance
When, during the night I am feeling sadder Sad without hope Wishing to kill myself
— There I am the king’s friend — Have the woman I want In the bed that I choose