Structures > Chogha Zanbil
For the nearby modern village with this name, see Chogha Zanbil (village).
Dur Untash (Elamite)
Ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil
Location in Iran Location in Iran
Shown within Iran
Location Khuzestan Province, Iran
Coordinates 32°0′30″N 48°31′15″ECoordinates: 32°0′30″N 48°31′15″E
Founded 1250 BC
Abandoned 640 BC
Excavation dates 1951–1961
Archaeologists Roman Ghirshman
Condition In ruins
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name Tchogha Zanbil
Criteria iii, iv
Designated 1979 (3rd session)
Reference no. 113
State party Iran
Chogha Zanbil (Persian: چغازنبيل; Elamite: Dur Untash) is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran. It is one of the few existent ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia. It lies approximately 42 km (26 mi) south-southeast of Dezful, 30 km (19 mi) south-east of Susa and 80 km (50 mi) north of Ahvaz.
4 See also
7 External links
Chogha in Bakhtiari means "hill". Choga Zanbil means 'basket mound.' It was built about 1250 BC by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honor 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.
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 BC. Some scholars speculate, based on the large number of temples and sanctuaries at Chogha 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.
The main building materials in Chogha Zanbil were mud bricks and occasionally baked bricks. The monuments were decorated with glazed baked bricks, gypsum and ornaments of faïence and glass. Ornamenting the most important buildings were thousands of baked bricks bearing inscriptions with Elamite cuneiform characters were all inscribed by hand. Glazed terracotta statues such as bulls and winged griffins guarded the entrances to the ziggurat. Near the temples of Kiririsha and Hishmitik-Ruhuratir, kilns were found that were probably used for the production of baked bricks and decorative materials. It is believed that the ziggurat was built in two stages. It took its multi-layered form in the second phase.
The ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world.[according to whom?] In 1979, Chogha Zanbil became the first Iranian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Axe bearing the name of the king Untash-Napirisha
Choga Zanbil was excavated in six seasons between 1951 and 1961 by Roman Ghirshman.   
Petroleum exploration due to increased global demand threatens the foundations of the site, as various seismic tests have been undertaken to explore for reserves of petroleum. Digging for oil has been undertaken as close as 300 metres (984 ft) away from the ziggurat.
See also Ancient Near East portal
List of Iranian castles, citadels, and fortifications
Cities of the ancient Near East
Jump up ^ Rohl, D: Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, page 82. Century, 1998.
Jump up ^ R. Ghirshman, The Ziggurat of Tchoga-Zanbil, Scientific American, vol. 204, pp. 69–76, 1961
Jump up ^ Roman Ghirshman, Travaux de la mission archéologique en Susiane en hiver 1952-1953, Syria, T. 30, Fasc. 3/4, pp. 222–233, 1953
Jump up ^ Roman Ghirshman, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash). Vol. I: La Ziggurat, Mémoires de la Délégation Archéologique en Iran, vol. 39, Geuthner, 1966
Jump up ^ R. Ghirshman, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash) Volume II: Temenos, Temples, Palais, Tombes, Memoires de la Delegation Archeologique en Iran, vol. 40 Geuthner, 1968
Jump up ^ M.J. Steve, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash) 3: Textes Élamites et Accadiens, Mémoires de la Délégation Archéologique en Iran, vol. 41, Geuthner, 1967
Jump up ^ Edith Porada, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash). Vol. IV (only): La Glyptique, Memoires de la Delegation Archeologique en Iran, vol. 42, Geuthner, 1970
Jump up ^ Soudabeh Sadigh (November 29, 2006). "Seismographic Tests to be performed on Tchogha Zanbil". Cultural Heritage News Agency.
D. T. Potts, The Archaeology of Elam: Formation and Transformation of an Ancient Iranian State, Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-56496-4
Roman Ghirshman, La ziggourat de Tchoga-Zanbil (Susiane), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 98 lien Issue 2, pp. 233–238, 1954
Roman Ghirshman, Campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil, près de Suse, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 99, iss. 1, pp. 112–113, 1955
Roman Ghirshman, Cinquième campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil, près Suse, rapport préliminaire (1955-1956), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 100, iss. 3, pp. 335–345, 1956
Roman Ghirshman, Les fouilles de Tchoga-Zanbil, près de Suse (1956), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 100, iss. 2, pp. 137–138, 1956
Roman Ghirshman, VIe campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil près de Suse (1956-1957), rapport préliminaire, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 101, iss. 3, pp. 231–241, 1957
Roman Ghirshman, FouiIles de Tchoga-Zanbil près de Suse, complexe de quatre temples, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 103, iss. 1, pp. 74–76, 1959
Roman Ghirshman, VIIe campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil, près de Suse (1958-1959), rapport préliminaire, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 103, iss. 2, pp. 287–297, 1959
P. Amiet, Marlik et Tchoga Zanbil, Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, vol. 84, no. 1, pp. 44–47, 1990
External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chogha Zanbil.
6,000-Year-Old Ziggurat Found Near Chogha Zanbil In Iran - 2004
Chogha Zanbil Travel Guide
World Heritage profile
Hamid-Reza Hosseini, Shush at the foot of Louvre (Shush dar dāman-e Louvre), in Persian, Jadid Online, 10 March 2009, .
Audio slideshow:  (6 min 31 sec)