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Susa | Shushtar

Covering about 350 hectares, Susa constitutes one of the world‘s largest archaeological sites. It has been located at the fountainhead of the city river. Since the 4th millennium BC people have uninterruptedly lived there until the 8th century AH. Along this period, it was the capital of the Elamites and subsequently the Achaemenians for totally about 2800 years. For the first time, a French archeologist worked there about 150 years ago. Subsequently, Iranian Archaeological teams have carried out excavations here, unraething artifacts, buildings and objects from different historical periods, and most importantly about Elamite history and culture.

tchogha zanbil

Tchogha-Zanbil Zigorat

the ancient city of Dur Untash,known as Tchogha Zanbil ,was founded as a religious capital during the Elamite period by Untash-Napirisha (1275-1240 BC) in a site half-way between Anshân(Ize) and Susa. The famous Archologist,Roman Ghirshman,is the one who carried out the complete exploration of this site from 1951 to 1962.
Tchogha Zanbil contains the best preserved and the largest between all the ziggurats of Mesopotamia.. Originally, the temple located at the centre was a square building, dedicated to the Sumerian god Inshushinak and also to Napirisha the god of Anshân. The temple was later converted into a ziggurat of which it constitutes the first floor of the current building 5 story building. But Today the ziggurat is no more than 25 m high, the last two stages, which originally rose to a height of 60 m, having been destroyed
Unlike the squatter Mesopotamian ziggurats, which were equipped with three external staircases, Access to Tchogha Zanbil was by means of a vaulted staircase, which was invisible from outside,. The ziggurat is sacred.
On the north-western side of the ziggurat a group of temples were dedicated to the minor divinities, Ishnikarab and Kiririsha. three oval wall surrounded the temples and the ziggurat. The second enclosure, trapezoidal in form, delimits a vast, almost empty zone. In the third enclosure, only three palaces were built and a temple, near the Royal Gate, with a large interior court. This third enclosure was to protect the town of Dur Untash, the houses of which were never built. The Untash-Gal Palace (13th century BC) was discovered, separated from the temenos.
Despite the destruction attributed to the Assyrians, a whole series of heads, statuettes, animals and amulets were found, and the remains of two panels in ivory mosaic. Several vaulted tombs were discovered in the basement of the royal residence, with evidence of cremation. Nearby was a temple dedicated to Nusku, the god of fire.
Untash-Napirisha made a channel of about 50 km long to supply the population of the city with water leading to a reservoir outside the northern rampart; from there, nine conduits carried the filtered water to a basin arranged inside the rampart. Dur Untash was given up by the Elamite kings in the 12th century BC in favor of Susa. They transported all the treasures of Tchogha Zanbil to Susa where they were used to decorate the recently restored temples. In 640 BC, Dur Untash was entirely destroyed by the Assyrian king Assurbanipal, a few years after his conquest of Susa. 


The ancient fortress city of shushtar is located approximately 92 km from Ahvaz, in the center of Khuzestan Province. Much of its past agricultural productivity has been derived from the irrigation system centered on Band-e Kaisar or ‘Caesar’s dam’, which is an ancient arch bridge and the first dam-bridge in Iran, built by a Roman workforce during Sassanid era in the 3rd century AD.

shushtar hydraulic system

The Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System was inscribed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 2009, as Iran’s 10th cultural heritage site to be registered on the United Nation’s list.
This complex demonstrates outstanding universal value as in its present form; it dates from the 3rd century CE, probably on older bases from the 5th century BCE. It is complete, with numerous functions, and large-scale, making it exceptional.It is as rich in its diversity of civil engineering structures and its constructions as in the diversity of its uses (urban water supply, mills, irrigation, river transport, and defensive system).
The Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System testifies to the heritage and the synthesis of earlier Elamite and Mesopotamian knowhow; it was probably influenced by the Petra dam and tunnel and by Roman civil engineering. The Shushtar hydraulic system, in its ensemble and most particularly the Shâdorvân Grand Weir (bridge-dam), has been considered a Wonder of the World not only by the Persians but also by the Arab-Muslims at the peak of their civilisation. The Gargar canal is a veritable artificial watercourse which made possible the construction of a new town and the irrigation of a vast plain, at the time semi-desert. The Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System sits in an urban and rural landscape specific to the expression of its value.
The water subsequently enters the plain south of the city, and irrigates farmland over a vast area referred to as Mianab – a name given to the entire area between the two diversion canals of Shutayt and Gargar on the Karun River, as well as an island that has Shushtar city at its northern end.