Chogha Zanbil is the ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, centered on a great ziggurat and surrounded by three huge concentric walls. Founded around 1250 BC, the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal in 640 BC.
Archaeological excavations between 1951 and 1962 revealed the site again, and the ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world. It is one of the few extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia. It was built about 1250 BCE by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honor the great god Inshushinak.
The complex is protected by three concentric walls, which form three main areas of the "town." The inner area is wholly taken up with a great ziggurat dedicated to the main god, which was built over an earlier square temple with storage rooms also built by Untash-Napirisha.
The middle area holds eleven temples for lesser gods. It is believed that twenty-two temples were originally planned, but the king died before they could be finished, and his successors discontinued the building work. In the outer area are royal palaces, a funerary palace containing five subterranean royal tombs, and a necropolis containing non-elite tombs.