Chogha Zanbil Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 16 photos

Choghazanbil Temple (Ziggurat), Shoosh

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.

Choghazanbil is situated at a distance of 45 km. south east of Shoosh, and is the only remnant of an ancient city, that was constructed approximately in 1300 BC. This city which was at the vicinity of 2 km. from Dez river, was known as "Ontashgal". The same is a reminder of the new Elamite civilization. It was surrounded by three interconnected sun brick made ramparts with the main entrance situated in the eastern side of the largest rampart.
The palaces and tombs of the Elamite monarchs are situated between the first and second ramparts. Between the second and the third ramparts, the remnants of the water supply and purification system for city is observed. The water purification system of Choghazanbil was to provide drinking water for citizens which is obviously accounted as one of the most ancient water supply systems. In the center of the third rampart, the main temple (Ziggurat) is placed. This square shaped structure is constructed at the dimensions of 105x105 sq.m., along four main directions.
This temple was constructed by means of millions of bricks, in five floors. At present only two floors have been remained. Except for the first and fifth floors, the rest have been filled with sun baked bricks. The fifth floor which is considered to be the most highest one, was used to be the place where idols were kept., The main idol was called "Inshushinak" which was considered to be the most famous deity of Shoosh city. On the brick walls of the temple, same inscriptions designating the name of the king in the Cuneiform script can be observed which reveals the aim of the monarch in the construction of this temple. Near the temple, on the main ground there are two circular platforms. Some believe this to be a place where sacrifices were carried out, and the other version is that, this was an area for astrology.

  • Intro Written Jul 6, 2003
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (3)

Comments (2)

  • apiapi's Profile Photo
    May 27, 2004 at 10:28 PM

    OMG....such an awesome place. I luv reading yr pages on Iran. Such a beautiful country, rich with culture and history. Can't wait to visit it soon. Thanks a lot for the info and nice pics.

  • rural_boy's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2003 at 3:21 PM

    wow...how great is there.i had never seen there.thank you.


“Home Is Where The Heart Likes To Be...”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 8 5 1

Badges & Stats in Chogha Zanbil

  • 3 Reviews
  • 6 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 1,667PageViews

Have you been to Chogha Zanbil?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Chogha Zanbil