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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

On our way to Pasargadae

Pasargadae means “City of Persians” and 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’ tomb, 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.

Pasargadae

The tomb of Ciro, The Great

Cyrus is considered one of the most intelligent rulers of history and his political as well as military capabilities are still praised and studied – he was the one who created the notion of federalism. The Persian king, however, 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. He, besides being the first one to abolish slavery, also respected the minor cultures and religion beliefs of tribes under his command and he was called by many of “The Father”.

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 field of the 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 created the poem which surrounds the great part of the Brazilian population’s imagination up to date.

Pasargadae

Part of the city

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 of adventures and with no need of being friends of the king.

How to get in Pasargadae:

Go to the closest bookshop and buy the book of poetry by… oh…no. The other Pasargadae!

Pasargadae

Fe and the sign to the city

Pasargadae is 130km from Shiraz, one of the biggest city of Iran. Shiraz has an international airport but it is also reached by road. The Iranian buses are extremely comfortable and cheap.

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. There you will find the four Persian king’s tombs. It has Darius, the Great, amongst them). 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. The entrance for the attractions are not included but they cost about $1 to $5 each.

Pasargadae

Ruins in Pasargadae

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

I’m leaving for Pasargadae