1.Chogha Zanbil (1979)
Ziggurats were a form of ancient Mesopotamian mud-brick temple tower common to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians from approximately 2200 until 500 BCE. Some of these architectural marvels still stand today.
The word Ziggurat is derived from the Babylonian Ziggurratu', meaning 'mountain peak' or "pinnacle'. The ancients considered mountains to be the link between the heavens and earth; for instance, Mount Olympus was home to the Greek pantheon. Their function as celestial mountains is manifested in the names given to these ancient religious structures. In Babylon, it was revered as 'the house of the foundation of heaven and earth'.
In lower Babylonia, it was known as the house of the bond between heaven and earth'. Sumerian temples were believed to have had astrological significance. They were thought to be a vertical bond between heaven and earth, the earth and the underworld, and a horizontal bond between the lands. While their actual function still remains obscure, it has been suggested that Ziggurats symbolized the primeval mound, which the universe was thought to have been created upon, heavenly mountains, bridges between heaven and earth or celestial stairways between the gods and humans. Mesopotamians considered mud to be the purest of substances, therefore, it was employed in the construction of these stepped structures, which ascended toward heaven, bringing man closer to the gods and facilitating his worship. Considered the temporal dwelling of a deity or the meeting place of gods and humans, ziggurats had a high temple, a low temple and no internal chambers. They were not used as places for performing
public religious rites and rituals, but rather as the earthly house of Built in receding tiers upon rectangular, oval, or square platforms ziggurats Were pyramidal structures with sunbaked brick cores and multi colored glazed-brick exteriors. The number of tiers ranged from two to seven, with a shrine or temple at the summit. Their resemblance to Egyptian pyramids and the pyramidal structures of Central America has been the cause for numerous academic debates; however, as ziggurats had no funerary purposes, nor were they used as sacrificial altars any link between the three structures has been ruled out. Each city had its own patron god, and that god was usually perceived to be the landowner of the temple and its surrounding area; the king was his bailiff; the king's daughter was the high priestess of the shrine. Priests were the only ones allowed inside the ziggurat temples. They were tasked with attending to the needs of the gods, giving them absolute power over society. Access to to the shrine was either via exterior stairways, a series of ramps on oneside of the ziggurat, or a spiral ramp from base to summit. No means of ascent, however, have been found in half of the 25 known ziggurats,forof which are located in Iran. Sialk, in Kashan, Iran, houses the World's' oldest ziggurat, which was built in 2,900 BCE and is one of the f S Elamite religious structures in Mesopotamia. The other three are Susa ziggurat (1,800 BCE), Haft Tappeh (1,375. BCE) and Choqa Zanbil (1,250 BCE), all in Khuzestan Province,
The current name of Tchogha-Zanbil corresponds with the ancient city of Dur. Untash, dominating the course of the Ab-e Diz, a tributary of the Karun. The city was founded as a religious capital during the Elamite the period by Untash-Napirisha (1275-1240 BC) in a site half-way between Anshan and Susa, Roman Ghirshman carried out the complete exploration of the site from 1951 to 1962. The site contains the best preserved and the largest of all the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. The first enclosure contains the temenos. In origin, the temple located at the Center was a square building, dedicated to the Sumerian god Inshushinak. This temple was then converted into a ziggurat of which it constitutes the first storey. Access was by means of a vaulted staircase, invisible from outside. 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.
The ziggurat is sacred not only to Inshushinak but also to Napirisha, thegod of Anshan. In spite of the destruction attributed to the Assyrians, ahole 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. The Elamites traditionally buried their dead, and the reason for the cremation is unknown. To supply the population of the city with water, Untash-Napirisha made a channel of about 50 km long, 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.