Not bad for a building over 3200 years old.
Something has to be really worth seeing if you have to brave 48 deg temperatures and a scorching sun in an isolated desert location to view it. Luckily the imposing Elamite-era ziggaraut – a massive tiered pyramid-type structure – at Choqa Zanbil is worth melting for.
Umbrellas aloft, and scampering to any available shade, we stood awed at the massive structure only uncovered in 1935 by surveyors from the Anglo-Iranian oil company, later BP, after being “lost” for more than two and a half millennia. The purpose of the tiers was to allow the high officials to be closer to the heavens. Different entrances were used for the various levels of officials and priests. Again, the sheer audacity and genius of these circa 1200 BC rulers, and their architects and builders, boggles the mind.
Quality brick work; ancient (autographed) hinges; cuneiform inscriptions.
Choqa Zanbil is considered to be the world’s best-preserved example of a ziggaraut, a key factor leading to its listing in 1979 as a UNESCO World heritage site, along with Persepolis and Imam Square in Esfahan. It’s so well preserved – maybe thanks to sitting under the desert sands – that it looks like the brickies finished the work not long ago. A touching reminder of that long ago life is a child’s footprint still clearly distinguishable in the clay paving stones.
The structure is floodlit at night highlighting its commanding tiers against the desert night sky. And the outside temperature by then is only…a balmy 40 deg.