Zigurat of Choga Zanbil
The ziggurat is an ancient temple of the Elamites, based on a four-story square plan with a temple top and an estimated height of more than 50 m, surrounded by numerous buildings, temples and palaces, and protected by three walls. The ziggurat consists of a huge mud brick structure, reinforced by wooden beams with an external coating in fired brick, which also allowed its connection with the outside. Each floor of the ziggurat was used for specific functions: at the top of the building was the temple proper, the “sanctum sanctorum”, with an altar and statues dedicated to the patron deity, to which only the priest-king had access. On the middle floors there used to be schools and along the stairs were the priests’ rooms. In the lower part, there were warehouses to store the goods that would be used in case of need, and archives to keep the clay tablets on which the contracts or the quantities of goods delivered to the temple were recorded.
This sacred place gathered cults and deities from all the provinces of the kingdom. Several palaces were built to the east, next to a monumental entrance gate, also called the royal gate, with a large courtyard. The ashes of the royal family were also found in a palace intended for royal funerary worship. In 1979, Chogha Zanbil became the first Iranian site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage.
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