(Persia Digest) – October 29 has unofficially been named Cyrus the Great Day and celebrated by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) from old times.

This day was named after Cyrus the Great following the conquest of the Babylonian Empire by the Persian army in 539 BCE, ending an era of oppression in the ancient world.

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The naming can be traced back to the end of the Qajar era and beginning of rule by Reza Shah Pahlavi I. At this time, Iran was entering a new era of nation-state. Reza Shah decided to set Cyrus the Great as a mediator for his imperial ideology. Thus, the “New Iran” began to take shape through a father figure like King Cyrus.

Currently, supporters of Cyrus and the Persian civilization visit his mausoleum in Pasargadae on 29 October every year to commemorate Iranian culture and civilization and the Persian King.

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Cyrus’s mausoleum is one kilometer from the southwestern palaces of Pasargadae in Fars (Pars) Province. As part of Pasargadae, this became a Unesco registered site in 2004.

Many people in the world know Cyrus the Great with his human rights charter, which is mankind’s first declaration of human rights. This has been carved on a clay cylinder kept at the British Museum. In 1971, the charter was translated into six official languages of the world by the UN.

Although many archaeologists believe that Iran became Iran under the rule of Cyrus the Great, but the commemoration of this day is presently limited by some officials. They believe Cyrus is the symbol of royalty which is opposed to Islam and Islamic rule. Others still, such as the Head of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, believe that this can be turned into a tourism attraction under calm circumstances. The latter group believe that pre-Islamic and Islamic Iran are inseparable and both have positive aspects which can be used for the progress of the country.

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