Friday, January 13, 2006

Chogha Zanbil

One of the most significant 13th century BC architectural works of Iran is the Chogha Zanbil Temple (1250 BC) located 45 kilometres from Susa. The western vaults of Chogha Zanbil Temple were so skillfully built that at present, even after three thousand years, they remain in marvelously good conditions. The vaults are constructed on prolonged corridors and over internal staircases of the temple and represent an extraordinary achievement in the architecture of ancient Iran. This ziggurat is the best surviving example of the Elamite architecture anywhere.
Throughout the ancient Near East a tendecy exists to admire and worship mountians. Huge ziggurats relieved the flat monotony of the Mesopotamian plain, ritual imitations of the familiar sacred mountains that ring the Iranian Plateau. Thus, even if the impressive development of these colossal structures was Mesopotamian, their inspiration and meaning was clearly Persian. The men who came down from the eastern lands could not bring with them their mountains, so they made their own "holly hill" or "mountain of all lands".
Chogha Zanbil was built at Dur Untash, a city near Susa, by Untash-gal, king of Elam, about 1,250 BC, and in honor of Inshushinak, gauridan god of Susa, and reached the hight of its splendor in 1,200 BC, its downfall occuring in 640 BC. The ziggurats serve as both temples and tombs with splended tile work and inscriptions.