Outstanding Universal Value

Tchogha Zanbil or ancient Al Untash, an Elamite city (today Khuzestan province in southwest Iran), was inscribes on the World Heritage List as No. 113 on 16 October 1979 at the third session of the World Heritage Committee.

Criterion (iii): The ruins of Susa and of Tchogha Zanbil are the sole testimonies to the architectural development of the middle Elamite period (1400-1100 BCE).

Criterion (iv): The ziggurat at Tchogha Zanbil remains to this day the best preserved monument of this type and the largest outside of Mesopotamia.

Within the boundaries of the property are located all the elements and components necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including, among others, the concentric walls, the royal quarter, the temples, various dependencies, and the ziggurat. Almost none of the various architectural elements and spaces has been removed or suffered major damage. The integrity of the landscape and lifestyle of the indigenous communities has largely been protected due to being away from urban areas.
Identified threats to the integrity of the property include heavy rainfalls, which can have a damaging effect on exposed mud-brick structures; a change in the course of the river Ab-e Diz, which threatens the outer wall; sugar cane cultivation and processing, which have altered traditional land use and increased air and water pollution; and deforestation of the river valleys. Visitors were banned from climbing the ziggurat in 2002, and a lighting system has been installed and guards stationed at the site to protect it from illegal excavations.

The historical monuments of the archaeological site of Tchogha Zanbil are authentic in terms of their forms and design, materials and substance, and locations and setting. Several conservation measures have been undertaken since the original excavations of the site between 1946 and 1962, but they have not usually disturbed its historical authenticity.