Journey to Susa and Chogha Zanbila

We should take Zagros mountain range and the Elamites into consideration when talking about the formation of Iran civilization.Works of art belonging to Neolithic era which are over 10000 years old have been found in Ganj Dareh district near Kermanshah. First signs of sedentism and rural life, stone arrowheads, bone objects, thick clay pots, bowls, beads, jewelry, and bricks with a hole in center are some of the things discovered in Ganj Dareh mound. They knew agriculture and had domesticated animals. They were the indigenous people of Zagros Mountains who established Elam some millenniums later due to increasing population and social maturity caused by Mesopotamian and Iranian Plateau civilization. Susa is of high importance in the study of urbanization history in Iran. However, some pieces belonging to Jiroft civilization, Shahr-e Sukhteh, and Tepe Sialk in Kashan represent an antiquity prior to Susa.

Chogha Zanbil-Susa

Chogha Zanbil-Susa

The 7000-year-old history of urbanization in the mentioned regions show the civilization in Iranian Plateau in ancient times but documents and evidences in ruins of Susa prove that Iran’s first kingdom belongs to the Elamites about 5000 years ago. The Elamites were neither Aryan nor Semitic. They were native people of the West part of Iranian Plateau and called themselves Haltamti which means residents of mountains. Elam consisted of two major parts: a plain and a mountain. Khuzestan, Fars, Bushehr, and Lorestan to present Kermanshah in addition to Bakhtiari Mountains in the west to Tigris River were the main ruling areas of the Elamites. Elam also had cultural supremacy over the North and East of Iran and they had lots of cultural exchanges. The history of Elam reign on the western part of Iran is divided into 3 periods. Power was distributed among lineages of west of Iranian Plateau residents in all periods. A king from a lineage ruled feudally and the inheritance of the throne was matrilineal due to the worship of Mother Goddess as the great god. Therefore the children of a king who got married to their sister were more eligible than other children. The Elamites had many gods and believed that the king is the representative of god on earth. Any disobedience with the king was considered disobedience with god. Their great god was Inshushinak and Choghazanbil complex in Susa was built in his honor. Choghazanbil was a place to worship Inshushinak. However, this god was later descended to the second and third god on account of political, religious, and social considerations.
Elam had close relations and interactions with its powerful neighbors; Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, and Assyria. Sometimes they had hostile relations and sometimes friendly relations. But these interactions contributed to cultural and civilizational development and promotion.
For a long time in ancient times Mesopotamian Civilization was the battle field for taking possession of gods. The battles lacked a systematic army and further power for a steady government and were like brutal attacks to scare and rob people. Possessing the statue of a city meant possessing the god and thus the city’s independence and it caused new battles. When the Elamites destroyed the great civilization of Sumer, they took Nana’s statue, the godhead of the city Erech, to Susa in 2280 B.C. and they owned this statue for about 1600 years. In 645 B.C. when Ashurbanipal, the mighty king of Assyria, wanted to attack Susa, he demanded Nana godhead besides levied tribute before attacking. However; his request was rejected by the last Elamite king Khumbankaldash. In this brutal attack Assyrians did not content themselves with slaughter and plunder. They exhumed the graves of Elamite kings and the renowned ones and took their bones to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Their behavior toward the Elamites was so ruthless that Kherqial says: ‘There it is Elam and all its population in graves. Everybody is killed.’ And indeed it was the death of Elam civilization. A civilization which along with Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Chaldean, and Median civilizations formed the cradle of a greater civilization called Mesopotamia.
The Elamites could preserve their identity against the attacks of powerful nations like Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians for several millenniums but finally were defeated by Assyrians due to internal dispute and civil wars. Iran’s most important political event during 3rd millennium B.C. is Elam’s reaching the height of its power and establishing the Elamite Empire in the north of Khuzestan plain.
The promotion of Mesopotamia Civilization including language, alphabet, and art along with cultural exchanges with the Aryans are Elam’s achievements for Iranian Plateau where welcomed many Aryan immigrants in 2000 B.C. By the annihilation of Elam civilization it was the time for Iranians to put an end to lengthy ancient times and start a new era and civilization by Medians and Persians.

Susa Castle
Daniel's Tomb
Haft Tappeh Museum
Haft Tape Museum
Choghazanbil ziggurat_Susa


Chogha Zanbil Tour; Tips and Guides:

Near the archeological city of Shoosh, also known as Susa in history books, there is a great, fantastic, captivating building called Chogha Zanbil. In local language Chogha Zanbil means “An upside-down Basketry”. The reason for the name is the appearance of this building.
This monument is the most valuable and important site dating back to Ilamid era, registered in UNESCO World Heritage. Traveling to ancient Iran, you can visit this fascinating site. Tour of ancient Iran as well helps you visit Tchogha Zanbil az well as other Iran’s sites.
Givetravel is proudly at your service to guide and drive you there with professional tour guides and capable drivers.

Chogha Zanbil Facilities

Visiting Hours: 9 to 18:30
Weekly holiday:NO
Distance to Susa: About 40 km

Historical Place:

YES, Strongly
Transportation: NO (Givtravel can provide them for you)
Museum:NO, but be a museum of the history of Susa and Chogha Zanbil in "Haft Tepe"
Ticket: YES (More expensive for foreigners than Iranians).
Disabilities Facilities: NO (Unfortunately no but Iranian Travel agencies can provide them for you)
Rest Position:  YES


Chogha Zanbil Guide:NO (Givtravel can provide them for you)
Coffee-shop: NO
Handicraft Market: NO
Restaurant: YES, Just One
Vegetarian Restaurant:NO
What kind of shoes do I need?  Sneakers are the best.
Pets' policy: No. Pets are not allowed.
AND Smiling People:  YES of course :)
For DinnerThere is just one local restaurant near Tchogha Zanbil named Traditional Restaurant managed by a family. Local food is available there as well as local bread. You can be served by this restaurant or on your way back to Susa you can eat at the hotel’s restaurant.


Do you have any question about Chogha Zanbil, Susa or Haft Tepe? We are here. :)

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