Susa, also known as Shush, is one of the oldest ancient cities of the whole world. Known as one of Iran’s UNESCO heritage sites, this historical city has a history of more than 6000 years. If you are fond of mysterious historical places and exploring an ancient city sounds exciting to you, Susa in Khouzestan Province in Southern Iran must be your next destination. Here are a few reasons why Susa is a must-see for all travelers.
It’s one of the Oldest Cities of the Whole World
Coveted by many emperors such as kings of Elamites, Assyrians and Achaemenids, Susa endured several wars throughout history. Located in a region with fertile ground, abundant water and fairly warm weather, Susa was regarded as a perfect place for living. As trading became one of the favorite jobs of the residents gradually, Susa turned into a city with rich people who asked for security, law and government. As a result, one of the earliest kingdoms and civilizations of the history was established here. It’s noteworthy that the Code of Hammurabi of Babylon, one of the earliest codes of law in the whole world, was found in Susa.
Studies show that the ancient city of Susa originated as a village with 10 hectares of area and 2000 people. The architectural characteristics of this ancient city are very similar to those of Elamite’s civilization. It was also used as the capital city of the Achaemenids Empire during winters.
The magnificent winter palace of Achaemenid emperors and the main residential palace of Darius I, Apadana was built by order of Darius I around 515-521 BC over remnants of Elamite Kingdom. The walls of Apadana Palace are made from adobe covered by brick and its columns are made of stone. The interior walls of the palace were ornamented with illustrations of soldiers, winged lions and blue Ipomoea. The palace was destroyed after the invasion of Iran by Alexander of Macedon. It’s obvious that Apadana was a glorious place in its own time. It features different sections such as Bar-e-Am, Harem, gate, catering palace and six main yards. Interestingly, 110 rooms and halls have been explored in the remnants of Apadana Palace site in Susa ancient city.
What is a Bar-e-Am Hall?
Bar-e-Am is the hall where ordinary people were allowed to visit the king in order to talk about their problems and ask for justice. Also, representatives from other countries would visit the king and present their gifts in this hall.
The Famous Platform of Apadana Palace
One of the architectural wonders of Susa is the elevated platform that Apadana palace has been built upon. It’s very similar to the platform that Persepolis is proudly standing on but what makes Apadana palace a distinct structure is that its platform was artificially made by human which requires an unbelievable amount of labor and accuracy.
Magnificent Interior Design of Apadana in Susa
Glazed bricks decorated by the shapes of Iranian army, the famous winged lion of ancient Persian and blue ipomoea are testimony of the advancement of art and architecture in that era.
Tomb of Daniel
There are several places in the world that are referred to as the Tomb of Prophet Daniel who has been mentioned in bible and Quran but the one which is located in Susa is the most widely accepted one. Prophet Daniel immigrated to Iran and lived in the ancient city of Susa and died at the age of 83.
The architecture of this tomb is very unique. Its dome was built in Seljuk era and is very different from the typical Iranian dome.
Chogha Zanbil – also written as Tchogha Zanbil – is another fascinating archaeological site for history lovers who love exploring remnants left from the past. Besides being located in the ancient city of Susa, it’s one of Iran’s sites that has been added to the list of UNESCO heritages for its historical and cultural value. Tchogha Zanbil is a place where you can see the ruins of the holy city of Elam dynasty. Surrounded by three interconnected ramparts and a main entrance in the right side of the largest rampart, this historical site reveals a lot about the architecture and culture of its time.
As unused bricks are found at this place, it is concluded that the process of building this city was left unfinished because it was invaded by Ashurbanipal. Therefore, it’s very unlikely that many people ever lived in Tchogha Zanbil. However, several palaces and tombs of monarchs found between the first and the second rampart depict the importance of the unfinished city. Even it’s believed that Tchogha Zanbil was supposed to replace Susa as one of the most religious centers of the Elamite civilization. Not to mention that remnants of a water supply and water purification system can be observed between the second and the third ramparts which proves the fact that the ancient civilization of Elam was astonishingly advanced.
This place proudly displays an enormous ziggurat which is one of the main reasons that travelers choose to visit Susa. Featuring five floors constructed by millions of bricks, it is known as the largest ziggurat outside of Mesopotamia and one of the best examples of stepped pyramidal monuments. Although, only two floors of it have been remained, archaeologists are certain that the first and the fifth floor were the only stories of the structure that were not filled with sun baked bricks and the fifth floor was the place for keeping idols.
Museum of Susa
On your way to the castle of Susa and just before the Tomb of Prophet Daniel, you’ll find yourself in front of a museum which is home to valuable things from the pre-Elamite era to the post-Islamic Iran. All of the things displayed in this museum has been found from the ancient city of Susa and Chogha Zanbil. So if you are interested in watching things left from the ancient times, pay a visit to the Museum of Susa.
Interested to Visit the Ancient City of Susa?
As Susa is located in Khouzestan Province, visiting this ancient city means going for an exciting adventure in Southern Iran. This region is home to many other historical and cultural attractions. Click here for more on Southern cities of Iran. If a voyage to the Southern cities and the adorable Persian Gulf sounds exciting to you, contact us for more information about our itineraries. Here at Land of Turquoise Domes, we do our best to make your visit to Iran an unforgettable memory.