Tomb of Cyrus The Great

Original name

ārāmgāh-e kurosh-e bozorg (آرامگاه کوروش بزرگ)

Geographic Area

Pasargadae, Iran

Project Typology

Fast survey documentation campaign (photogrammetry)

Site description

Pasargadae, the capital of Cyrus the Great (559–530 BC) and also his last resting place, was a city in ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), located near the city of Shiraz (in Pasargad County) and is today an archaeological site and one of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 160-ha archaeological site of Pasargadae presents some of the earliest manifestations of Persian art and architecture. It includes, among other monuments, the compact limestone tomb on the Morgab plain that once held Cyrus the Great’s gilded sarcophagus; Tall-e Takht (“Solomon’s Throne”), a great fortified platform built on a hill and later incorporated into a sprawling citadel with substantial mud-brick defences; and the royal ensemble, which consists of several palaces originally located within a garden layout (the so-called “Four Gardens”). Pasargadae became a prototype for the Persian Garden concept of four quadrants formally divided by waterways or pathways, its architecture characterised by refined details and slender verticality. The diffusion of the image of the mythical Persian cities such as Babylon, Nineveh or Pasargadae, has encouraged over the centuries the taste for the spread of urban green and descriptions of the large overhanging roof gardens civic space, which reproduce the ideas of oasis and utopia prosperity linked to the myth of the city, transcending in an exotic taste will inevitably influence the history of urban green western.


Sandro Parrinello

UNIPV, University of Pavia
UNIFI, University of Florence

Survey Activities

SfM Photogrammetry
Matteo Pasquini

Spherical Photogrammetry
Francesca Picchio

Francesca Picchio
Matteo Pasquini

Post production Activities

2D Drawings
Francesca Picchio

3D model
Francesca Picchio

  • Gallery
  • Point Cloud
  • Virtual Tour

Documentation Methodology

The documentation of the monumental tomb was carried out with photographic tools: a digital camera with calibrated lens and a 360° head assembled on a tripod. The fast survey documentation campaign has been aimed to obtain a general topographic coordinate system, using several 360° panoramas positions around the monument, thanks to which to orient the photogrammetric model obtained by SfM methodology. The acquisition by spheres has included 12 panoramas stationing around the monument, positioned so that each surface could been seen simultaneously by at least two 360° spheres, joined together using the architectural reference points. The same remarkable points, which constituted a spatial reference system of x, y, z coordinates, were used to scale and orient the 3D model obtained by taking a series of photographs with axes converging towards the center of the monument.

The post-production of data involved the use of topographic photogrammetry software, Sphera, and that of SfM photogrammetry, Agisoft Metashape. Inside Methashape the values of the spatial topographic coordinates were entered and the metric quality of the product was checked, using just a dimension measured on site (one side of the monument basement). The experimentation has highlighted the possibility of using the photographic tool alone to obtain a reliable survey both from a metric and a qualitative point of view, with a realistic high definition given by the texture component.


Bertocci, S., Parrinello, S., (2015). Digital survey and documentation of the Archaeological and Architectural sites. UNESCO World Heritage List. Edifir Edizioni Firenze, Ospedaletto (Pisa).