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Dur Untaš (Choga Zanbil)


Dur-Untaš: name of an Elamite town, famous for it ziggurat, modern Choga Zanbil.
 
City Ziggurat Court

Between the ziggurat and the inner temenos wall was the inner court: a narrow, irregular area devoted to the cult of the gods. To the northwest of the temple mountain were the sanctuaries of Kiririša and Išnikarab (the goddess of oaths), separated by a small gate from the Napiriša temple outside the inner temenos wall. Identification of these sanctuaries is not always easy. The room that was once called a stable has now been reinterpreted as a store room for cult statues or a kitchen. To the southwest of the ziggurat was a small round structure that is probably not, as one would expect, the pedestal of a statue, but a sundial. 

A statue of a cow guarded one of the staircases that led to the summit. The inscription read:

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Bolt of one of the gates, now in the Archaeological Museum of Tehran (Iran). Photo Jona Lendering.
Bolt of one of the gates, now in the Archaeological Museum of Tehran

Untaš-Gal, son of Humban-Numena, King of Anšan and Susa, made this bull from glazed terracotta, the like of which ancient kings have never made. I placed it as a guardian at this sacred place, for the god Inšušinak, who blessed this sacred place with sanctity. I dedicated this, to attain long life and good health and to pass [lacuna] to my descendants. For this purpose I made this for the god Inšušinak, the deity who blessed this sacred place with sanctity. So the god Inšušinak, the deity who blessed this sacred place with sanctity, would accept this from me as a gift.

On the rectangular outer court, between the inner and the outer temenos walls, one could also find several temples, especially in the eastern corner. They were dedicated to Napratep, Shimut and Nin Ali, Shalu, and Pinikir.

Outer temenos wall. Photo Jona Lendering. Eastern temples, within the outer temenos. Photo Marco Prins.
Outer temenos wall Southeastern gate, outer temenos wall Temples of Napratep, Shimut and Nin Ali, Shalu, and Pinikir. Inner temenos wall
Temple in front of the Royal Gate. Photo Jona Lendering.
Sherds on the outer court. Photo Marco Prins.
Temple in front of the Royal Gate Sun dial Temple of Išnikarab Sherds on the outer court
Underground water canal. Photo Marco Prins.
The foot of one of the people who made the tiles. Repository for the statues of the gods and goddesses. One of the water canals Underground water canal
Statue of a cow at Choga Zanbil. Photo Marco Prins. Statue base at Choga Zanbil. Photo Marco Prins. Small Arch at Choga Zanbil. Photo Marco Prins. Gargoil at Choga Zanbil. Photo Marco Prins.
Statue of a cow (Archaeological Museum of Tehran) Statue base and small gate Small Arch Gargoyle

City Ziggurat Court
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 21 July 2009
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