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Chogha Zanbil 3,000-Year-Old Ziggurat to Withstand Quakes


12 June 2004



Iranian geologists believe that Elamites had considered quake risks while building the ancient ziggurat in Chogha Zanbil.

Earthquakes and landslides have so far failed to ruin or even damage this splendid edifice. “Studies show that Elamites were fully aware of seismological safety standards and since the area is surrounded by faults, they have built the temple on a sandy patch of the land. Their architecture style is quite self-standing, thus making the ziggurat quake-resistant,” said Malek Abbasi, a geologist working on the site near the ancient city of Susa.

Another expert, Mohammad Hassan Talebian, observed that Elamites had gained the know-how to build great buildings and mansions without any foundations to boost its resistance to jolts and landslides.

The historical complex of Chogha Zanbil has been already enlisted as a world monument, but it has still many secrets to reveal. Iranian archaeologists have worked for 6 years on the site and they plan to help construct roads for tourists to visit the sumptuous area.

Elam first came into existence sometime between 3500 and 2500 BC. In around 2000 BC the Elamite dynasty conquered most of southern Mesopotamia. At its zenith, Elam controlled an empire that stretched from what is now the Baghdad area to the entrance of the Persian Gulf. The Assyrians sacked the Elamite capital, Susa, in 647 BC.


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