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March 28, 2010 | By: admin
Chogha Zanbil, Greatest Contribution in the Ancient World

A view of the Ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil in south-western Iran.
This structure was built in 1250 BC by the Elamite ruler Untash-Gal as a dedication to the diety Inshushinak 'Lord of Shush (Susa)'.
Chogha Zanbil is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran.
It is one of the only extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia (the other is Sialk). It lies approximately 45 kilometres south of Susa and 230 kilometres north of Abadan by way of Ahvaz, which is 60 kilometres away.

iran-chogha-zanbil.jpg

It was built about 1250 BCE by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honour the great god Inshushinak. Its original name was Dur Untash, which means 'town of Untash', but it is unlikely that many people, besides priests and servants, ever lived there. The complex is protected by three concentric walls which define the main areas of the 'town'. The inner area is wholly taken up with a great ziggurat dedicated to the main god, which was built over an earlier square temple with storage rooms also built by Untash-Napirisha. The middle area holds eleven temples for lesser gods. It is believed that twenty-two temples were originally planned, but the king died before they could be finished, and his successors discontinued the building work. In the outer area are royal palaces, a funerary palace containing five subterranean royal tombs, and a necropolis containing non-elite tombs.

ziggurat-chogha-zanbil.jpg

Although construction in the city abruptly ended after Untash-Napirisha's death, the site was not abandoned, but continued to be occupied until it was destroyed by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 640 bce. Some scholars speculate, based on the large number of temples and sanctuaries at Choqa Zanbil, that Untash-Napirisha attempted to create a new religious center (possibly intended to replace Susa) which would unite the gods of both highland and lowland Elam at one site.

ziggurat-chogha-zanbil-iran.jpg

There is no adequate watersource near Choqa Zanbil, and in order to secure a supply to the town's inhabitants, the king dug a great canal from a river many kilometres away. This canal was a massive work at the time, and a length of it is yet in use.

ziggurat-chogha-zanbil-design.jpg

Archaeological excavations undertaken between 1951 and 1962 revealed the site again, and the ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world. In 1979, Choqa Zanbil became the first Iranian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

More photo: Youngrobv

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