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Saturday, 25-Feb-2006 12:41 Email | Share | Bookmark
Ziggurrat chogha zanbil Temple

An inscription inside the gate
mentioning king Untash-Napirisha
this footprint
There's no deeper significance - just the foot of one
of the people who made the tiles.
This was probably a repository for the statues of the gods and g
A sundial on the northwestern terrace
A sundial on the northwestern terrace
A part of one of the gates
Before excavations ! 1930s
Underground tomb
There are 5 tombs
Tombs of Kings
Water refinery system
Chogha Zanbil is situated in southwest Iran about 40 km southeast of the ancient city of Susa. It was built on a plateau above the banks of the river Dez. Its ancient name is Dur-Untash, which means the castle or the city of Untash. In the 13th century B.C. King Untash Napirisha founded an entirely new city. Its size and splendor was intended to honor the gods and to manifest the power of King Untash Napirisha. At the center of the city a Ziqqurrat (temple tower) was built of which two floors still exist. It was surrounded by a wall, which is the inner wall of three concentric walls in Dur Untash. Between the inner wall and the middle wall several temples belonging to different Elamite divinities were built. The outer city wall was about 4 km long enclosing an area of approximately 100 hectares. The royal quarter was situated adjacent to a major city gate some 450 m east of the Ziqqurrat. In this area a group of three major buildings with large courts surrounded by lengthy halls and rooms were excavated. Beneath one of theses buildings (Palace I) five underground tombs were found similar to those of Haft Tappeh (Kabnak). The tombs in Chogha Zanbil however were of a much more monumental dimensions.

The building materials in Chogha Zanbil are mainly mud bricks and occasionally baked bricks. The monuments were well built and beautifully decorated with glazed baked bricks, gypsum, ornaments of faience and glass. Thousands of baked bricks bearing inscriptions with Elamite cuneiform characters were all incscribed by hand, ornamenting the most important buildings. Glazed terracotta statues such as bulls and winged griffins guarded the entrances to the Ziqqurrat. Near the temples of Kiririsha and Hishmitik-Ruhuratir kilns were found that probably were used for the production of baked bricks and decoration materials. The Ziqqurrat was built in two stages and in the second phase took its multi-layered form.
Beyond Babylonia and Assyria this is the only preserved Ziqqurrat. It was obviously constructed according to the models of the Mesopotamian culture. There is scarce information about the actions during the divine service. However, it is known that the Elamites were religious and held regular divine services. Some reliefs give us a glimpse about how these might have been carried out.
Roman Ghirshman excavated most of the Ziqqurrat and the vast surrounding area from 1951 – 1962. He excavated the temples, palaces, tombs and three concentric walls of the site with gates. After the excavations most of the monuments were exposed to erosion. Due to rainfalls, water penetrates into the structure of the building, accelerating the deterioration processes. During last two years the monuments were not only uncovered but also necessary measures have been taken by the Cultural Heritage Organization to protect the Ziqqurrat from further erosion.

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