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Susa; the Oldest City in Iran

The ancient city of Susa is one of the centers of ancient civilization and one of the most famous cities in the world. The city of Susa has been the capital of the Elamite kingdom for several thousand years and it was the winter capital of the Achaemenid Empire.

History of the Ancient City of Susa

The ancient city of Susa was the center of Elamite civilization, which is located 150 km east of the Tigris River in Khuzestan province. Susa has been the capital since about 2700 BC and this capital lasts until the end of the Achaemenid Empire, which is more than 3000 years. Historical data shows that the Elamites ruled in this city and region for 2,000 years, centered on the city of Susa. Before the Mongol invasion, Susa was very populated and many people lived in it, and it was only after the devastating Mongol invasions that the city became uninhabitable.

In this case, there are two documents, which are written bricks and the other written mud; the subject of the mud writings is the purchase and sale of land, wills, adoptions, etc. But, the inscription bricks were mostly used in the construction of temples and were about the gods of the ancient Susa people.

Glazed tile Cuneiform Inscription from Susa
Glazed tile Cuneiform Inscription from Susa – by nickmard

At that time, every kingdom that built a temple introduced itself in the form of these inscriptions. In it, he states who the son is and where the king has been and says that he built this temple for one of the gods for his health and longevity, and he hopes that God will give him a long life.

Another noteworthy point in these brick inscriptions was the reference of all of them to the position of women in that period. In Elam and in its capital, Susa, women’s activities were not limited to the home. Women, like men, had the power to sign documents, to trade, to inherit, to make a will on how to divide their inheritance after their death, and so on. In the documents of the first Elamites, the name of the king’s mother, sister, or daughter is often mentioned.

Climate of Susa

The climate of Susa is hot and dry. In the center of the city, the highest temperature in summer is above 45 degrees Celsius and the lowest temperature is 28 degrees above zero. The climate of this city is affected by the effect of high tropical pressure, which makes some days of summer sultry.

Susa in UNESCO Heritage Site List

After reviewing the file of the world registration of the ancient site of Susa, this file was registered on July 4, 2015, at the UNESCO meeting in the German city of Bonn. The cultural heritage of Susa includes the palace of Shavar, Apadana, the Eastern Gate, Hadish, the 15th city, the Achaemenid village, the Grand Mosque of Susa, and the complex of the Islamic period buildings, the Acropolis hills, and the French fort.

Tourist Attractions of the Ancient City of Susa

Apadana Palace

The ancient region of Susa covers a large area of the entire city of Susa, which houses a wide variety of architectural structures and structures from prehistoric times to the Islamic era. Apadana Palace is one of its most magnificent palaces.

The palace of Apadana was built by the order of Darius the Great, the Achaemenid king, around 521 to 515 BC in Susa on Elamite relics. The walls of the palace are made of clay and its columns are made of stone. Dariush Palace has different parts such as an audience hall, gate, and reception hall and has three central courtyards. The inner walls of the palace are decorated with glazed bricks painted with designs of Immortal Guard soldiers, winged lions, and lotus flowers, the remains of which are kept in foreign and domestic museums.

Important parts of the Apadana palace caught fire during the reign of Ardashir I (461 BC) and were rebuilt during the reign of Ardashir II (359 BC). Apadana was destroyed in the invasion of Alexander III of Macedon around 320 BC.

Susa Castle (Acropolis)

In 1987, the Frenchman Jean-Marie Jacques de Morgan came to Susa for research and exploration, and the construction of Susa Castle began to house him and his companions and to preserve the discovered antiquities. For this purpose, the highest point of the hills of Susa, namely the “Acropolis”, was selected and a castle in the shape of medieval castles and trapezoids was built on it. The building of this castle was often built with ancient bricks and remains of bricks and bricks of different periods that remained in the ancient site of Susa. In 1912, its construction was completed. This castle is still used as a center for the preservation and research of antiquities.

Castle built by French (Acropolis), Susa
Castle built by French (Acropolis), Susa – by youngrobv

Sanctuary of Daniel the Prophet

The prophet Daniel entered Mesopotamia and from there to Susa around the seventh century BC with the Jews who had been taken captive by the Babylonians. He was one of the prophets of Israel. The tomb of Daniel the Prophet was built on the river Shavor and is visited by pilgrims from all over the world every year.

Tomb of Prophet Daniel, Susa
Tomb of Prophet Daniel, Susa – by youngrobv

Shush Museum

The Susa Museum was opened in 1966 near the castle and the ancient site of Susa. This museum is one of the most important museums of objects in ancient Iran and has valuable works from different historical periods.

Haft Tappeh (seven hills)

The ancient site of Haft Tappeh is located about 15 km southeast of the city of Susa and, as its name suggests, consists of several hills. The vastness of this ancient site has attracted the attention of various explorers.

ChoghaZanbil Ziggurat

Choghaznabil is actually a ziggurat built during the reign of Ontash Gal, the Elamite king. This building and the works obtained from inside it are among the most amazing historical works in the world. Many of its works are in famous museums inside and outside. You can read more about Choghazanbil Ziggurat here.

Iwan-e Karkheh and Karkheh National Park

Sassanid Shapur II (379-309) built a new royal city on the right bank of the Karkheh River, 25 km west of Susa and today it is called “Iwan Karkheh”. The architectural and urban works of Iwan Karkheh have had a great impact on the architecture of Iran and abroad. Eastern Christian lands in Spain, as well as in Syria and Egypt, were inspired by the architectural design of Sassanid palaces in the city of Iwan Karkheh in the construction of their large churches.

Karkheh National Park and Protected Area consist of a satellite hill in the north and a plain in the south, through which the Karkheh River flows. In this region, there are beautiful forests such as “Qaleh Nasir” forest, which has a very beautiful view. Other places of interest include the source of the Shavar River.

If you want to visit this historic city, we suggest you join us. Write your comments to us so that we can benefit from your travel experiences.

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