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Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1979
Size of heritage:

Longitude: 48,533°
Latitude: 32,083°


The ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, surrounded by three huge concentric walls, are found at Tchogha Zanbil. Founded c. 1250 B.C., the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal, as shown by the thousands of unused bricks left at the site.

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Tchogha Zanbil, also known as Dur-Untash, is an ancient complex located in the Khuzestan province of Iran. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a remarkable testament to the Elamite civilization, which flourished in the region around 1250 BCE. Tchogha Zanbil is renowned for its well-preserved ziggurat, which stands as a testament to the architectural and engineering prowess of the ancient Elamites.


The construction of Tchogha Zanbil dates back to the reign of King Untash-Napirisha, who sought to establish a religious center dedicated to the Elamite gods. The complex was built over a period of approximately 25 years, from 1250 to 1220 BCE. The ziggurat, the central structure of Tchogha Zanbil, was intended to serve as a place of worship and a link between the heavens and the earth.

However, the grandeur of Tchogha Zanbil was short-lived. Just a few years after its completion, the city was attacked and looted by the Assyrians. The Elamite civilization gradually declined, and Tchogha Zanbil was eventually abandoned. Over time, the site was buried under layers of sand and forgotten by the world until its rediscovery in the early 20th century.

Architecture and Design

The most striking feature of Tchogha Zanbil is its ziggurat, a stepped pyramid-like structure that rises to a height of approximately 25 meters. The ziggurat is composed of five terraces, each diminishing in size as they ascend. The outer walls of the ziggurat are adorned with intricate patterns and carvings, depicting various mythological and religious scenes.

Surrounding the ziggurat are three concentric walls, forming an outer city that once housed the Elamite population. The walls, constructed using mud bricks, are fortified with towers and gates. The innermost wall encloses the ziggurat and its associated temples, while the outer walls protected the residential areas and other structures.

Current State and Preservation Efforts

Tchogha Zanbil has undergone extensive restoration and preservation efforts to maintain its historical significance. The site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, recognizing its outstanding universal value. The restoration work has focused on stabilizing the ziggurat and preserving the intricate carvings and architectural elements.

Today, Tchogha Zanbil stands as a remarkable testament to the Elamite civilization and attracts visitors from around the world. The site offers a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of ancient Iran. Visitors can explore the ziggurat, walk along the ancient walls, and marvel at the intricate carvings that have withstood the test of time.

Efforts are ongoing to protect and preserve Tchogha Zanbil for future generations. Conservation measures include regular maintenance, monitoring of structural stability, and raising awareness about the site's historical significance. These efforts ensure that Tchogha Zanbil continues to inspire awe and admiration as a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Tchogha Zanbil stands as a testament to the architectural and engineering prowess of the ancient Elamites. Its well-preserved ziggurat and surrounding structures offer a glimpse into the rich history of the region. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Tchogha Zanbil continues to captivate visitors with its grandeur and serves as a reminder of the remarkable achievements of ancient civilizations.