Chogha Zanbil | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Chogha Zanbil

shaoor, Khuzestan Province, Iran

Sarah Roller

24 Nov 2020

About Chogha Zanbil

Chogha Zanbil is home to the impressive remains of the ancient city of Dur Untash, the holy capital of the Elamite Kingdom.

History of Chogha Zanbil

Located between Anshan and Suse, the city of Chogha Zanbil is thought to have been founded in 1250BC by King Untash-Napirisha and dedicated to the powerful god Inshushinak. Whilst it’s often called a city or town, in reality it’s thought not more than a handful of ordinary people lived here – the complex was primarily a religious one.

The site was never completed, and eventually ended up being abandoned in 640BC, following a devastating attack by King Ashurbanipal of the Assyrians.

The undeniable focal point of the ruins of Chogha Zanbil, is one of the greatest – if not in fact the greatest – ziggurats to have been built in Mesopotamia. Originally a temple dedicated to the deity Inshushinak, it developed to become the ornate pyramid-like structure – ziggurat – that stands today, although at 25 metres high it is now just a shadow of its former self having once risen to 60 metres.

Beyond its great ziggurat, visitors to Chogha Zanbil can also view ancient temples and palaces, including its 13th century BC Untash-Gal Palace. Tchogha Zanbil is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Chogha Zanbil today

With a dramatic desert location, Chogha Zanbil is worth the effort it takes to get there. Go for early morning or golden afternoon light to see it in its full glory. Due to the scared nature of the original site, visitors are still prohibited from climbing to the ruins – in its heyday, only the very elite would have been allowed to climb the ziggurat.

The site is guarded round the clock after attempts by robbers to sack the site but is only open between 7am and 6pm. Entry is normally paid in rials.

Getting to Chogha Zanbil

Chogha Zanbil is remote: you’ll need to hire a private taxi tour to get here, or else brave hitching (not recommended)! Shush and Shooshtar are your best bets for finding a taxi.

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