Susa, one of the few ancient sites in the Middle East

located in the south-west of Iran, in the lower Zagros Mountains, the property encompasses a group of archaeological mounds rising on the eastern side of the Shavur River, as well as Ardeshir’s palace, on the opposite bank of the river. The excavated architectural monuments include administrative, residential and palatial structures. Susa contains several layers of superimposed urban settlements in a continuous succession from the late 5th millennium BCE until the 13th century CE. The site bears exceptional testimony to the Elamite, Persian and Parthian cultural traditions, which have largely disappeared. Susa stands as one of the few ancient sites in the Middle East where two major social and cultural developments took place: the development of the early state, and urbanization. Susa is among the few sites in the Middle East where the dynamics and processes that led to these monumental human achievements has been documented, and still holds a huge body of important tangible evidence to understand better the early and mature stages of social, cultural and economic complexity. In its long history, Susa contributed to the development of urban planning and architectural design. The royal ensemble of the Palace of Darius and Apadana, with its tall hypostyle hall and porticos, lofty stone columns and gigantic capitals and column bases, and the orthostatic and ceramic wall decorations, together represent an innovative contribution to the creation of a new expression, characteristic of the Achaemenid Empire.

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