The ruins of the Elamite royal city are in Tschoga Zanbil, 45 km southeast of Susa. The city was founded in the 13th century BC. Founded and by the troops of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in the 7th century BC. Chr. Destroyed. The center of the settlement was a huge ziggurat, a 25 m high step tower. The city was discovered in 1935 and has been excavated since then. Significant finds include a water treatment plant that is over 3000 years old, as well as temple and palace foundations. Check smartercomputing to see Iran Tour Plan.
Ruined city of Choga Zanbil: facts
|Official title:||Ruined city of Choga Zanbil|
|Cultural monument||Unfinished cult city – a 4 km long city wall encloses an area of 1 km² – with a temple area enclosed by a ring wall with temples for Elamite deities such as Ruhuratir, Napratep, Nin Ali, Napirischa, Pinikir and Inschuschinak, the ziggurat, a five-storey, restored, tower-like, “high temples” made of adobe bricks with a height of 25 m; also 240 m east of the sanctuary royal palaces, palace I with an underground burial place as well as palace II and palace III|
|location||Choga Zanbil, north of Ahvaz and Abadan, on the banks of the Dec.|
|meaning||probably the oldest place of worship in Iran and testimony to the kingdom of Elam|
Ruined city of Choga Zanbil: history
|1275-49 BC Chr.||under King Untash Napirischa construction of the ziggurat|
|around 1000 BC Chr.||Task of the place of worship|
|around 646 BC Chr.||Destruction of the place of worship|
|1935||Discovery of the place of worship by geologists|
|1999-2005||extensive archaeological research|
Steps up to the gods
One caravan stage away from his capital Susa, the Elamite king Untasch Napirischa had a cult city built for the gods in the middle of the 13th century BC and named it Dur Untasch in honor of himself. An enclosure wall more than four kilometers long surrounded the residential area. On the outskirts of the city, the king had large palaces built, in which he stayed with his family and his court when he was performing his religious duties as the chief priest. In the palace area, he also planned his burial place – a multi-room crypt, in which during excavations, in addition to rich additions, burned corpses were found, which were attributed to Untash Napirischa and his family.
In the heart of the city was a spacious, walled temple area with numerous cult buildings in which various deities, including the goddess Napirischa, were worshiped. A tower-like, step-shaped place of worship – called the ziggurat and dedicated to Inschuschinak, the highest Elamite god – loomed in its center. The core of the sanctuary was surrounded by another, almost round wall with five gates. Clay, almost life-size bulls are said to have guarded the gates in pairs. The entrance to the north led through an elongated temple complex in which three deities of the Elamite pantheon were worshiped.
The massive ziggurat, built like a five-tier pyramid, the corners of which pointed in the four cardinal directions, had high, smoked brick walls that were not interrupted by any windows. Nevertheless, they were not unadorned: the upper area was adorned with colored, glazed knobs and glazed tile pictures mounted on tiles, and every eleventh row of tiles bore cuneiform inscriptions in Elamite, which praised the deeds of Untash Napirisha and listed his rich consecration offerings. If priests or believers entered the inner area of the place of worship for the rituals for Inschuschinak, they chose the main gate in the south, in front of which there was a square gate temple in a large, paved square. Paths paved with clay slabs led from this gate and the others to equally paved forecourts in the middle of each side of the ziggurat. Everywhere there were sacrificial tables decorated with brightly colored glazed bricks and round, bricked altars. From all four forecourts steep stairs climbed the next higher steps of the building, the uppermost terrace of which was occupied by the actual temple of Inschuschinak.
The idea of building the abode of a deity on an “artificial mountain” stems from the flat plains of Mesopotamia. There people believed from ancient times that the gods had their seat on the peaks of the mountains. To be closer to them, the Mesopotamians built step towers that, like the Tower of Babel, could take on enormous proportions. The long stairs, which seem to be lost in heaven, brought people closer to their God and gave God the opportunity to descend on the oversized steps to meet his believers. While the temple towers of Mesopotamia collapsed over the millennia and were washed out to form misshapen mud brick hills, the ziggurat of Tschoga Zanbil is still preserved up to its third stage. This not only made it possible to coat the walls with bricks, to protect the adobe structure from the weather, but rather the construction concept of the monument. Here, unlike in Mesopotamia, the builders placed the platforms, which were decreasing in height, like bowls around the highest central core. So every step was based on the ground, and the pressure of the enormous mass of bricks could be diverted downwards.