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Shahr-i Sokhta, A Heaven For Archeologists

Shahr-i Sokhta, the city that legacies of the pasts, which has attracted explorers from all over the world with its relics and history.
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Introduction to Shahr-i Sokhta

From the beginning of human existence until now, many civilizations have been created that lived for a while, created their history, and after a while, disappeared from the pages of time and left only their historical monuments for the survivors. Persia has a unique ancient civilization which various civilizations have been formed in this vast land. Shahr-i Sokhta is one of the legacies of the past, located in Zabul city in Sistan and Baluchestan province. Sistan and Baluchestan is one of the old cities of Persia. Many historical monuments are left through the tumultuous history of this city. One of these monuments is Shahr-i Sokhta.

Shahr-i Sokhta is the first city in the world to be built. This mysterious monument is a symbol of pre-Aryan Persian civilization. The first cornerstone of the city was laid at the same time as the Jirfa civilization in 3200 B.C. People of this city lived in four periods between 3200 and 1800 BC. The bronze artifacts discovered during that 5,000-year history prove the city’s location, which is the intersection of the most important trade routes in the Bronze Age. Shahr-i Sokhta is an advanced and industrial city that represents the ancient science, art and culture of the people of that city, the people who spoke of their intelligence brought the name of this historical monument to world fame. The civilization of Shahr-i Sokhta is one of the wonders of the ancient world, which has attracted explorers from all over the world with its relics and history, and has earned the title of archaeologists’ paradise, and is the cradle of modern archeological excavations in Persia.

The Cause of Shahr-i Sokhta

At a time when the Helmand River supplied Lake Hamun with water and the Zabul and Sistan region ecosystems were not yet affected by the current crisis, one of the oldest ancient civilizations in the area, along the shores of Lake Hamun, built a thriving city. The Sistan region, once known as Persia Warehousing Warehouse, has become a waterless and grassy region in the past due to the drying up of Lake Hamun, which has become a desert and grassland. The area around Lake Hamun and the Helmand River is compared to the Nile River and the surrounding civilizations; the constant presence of water in these areas has led to greenery and natural prosperity, and consequently economic and social prosperity, and is one of the reasons why Shahr-i Sokhta was built here. The same is true.

Architecture of Shahr-i Sokhta

The total area of the burned city is about 3 hectares, and according to discoveries, is estimated that it is the first city in the world to be built according to an urban plan. Burnt city hills used to be divided into four main areas:

1) Central area

2) East residential area

3) Northeast or Sokhta industrial zone

4) Southwest part includes cemetery

There are 310 graves in Shahr-i Sokhta Cemetery, which are divided into three models. The materials used are raw clay, and the most important type of grave is a simple pit where the dead were buried with objects and food, and the other type is an ordinary hole. Divided by a wall into two parts, the third type is the crypt tombs, which were a kind of family tomb. The most important architectural artifacts discovered in Shahr-i Sokhta are the so-called stepped houses and the burnt palace building. Each building unit is made of a rectangular section and its foundation is about 150 to 160 meters. The main materials used in it are regular mud bricks. Also, the roofs of houses are usually flat and mats are used to cover them, and the heat of the rooms is provided by a central stove. Shahr-i Sokhta was undoubtedly one of the most advanced cities of its time, and this can be seen not only in the remains of architectural works but also in the social organization of the city, because in the first period of excavations in Shahr-i Sokhta there were regular alleys and houses, water and sewage piping. It was found with clay pipes, which indicates the existence of a kind of urban planning and organization in this city.

Name of Shahr-i Sokhta

For the first time, this historic city was mentioned about 150 years ago in Qajar sources. The reason for naming this city is the ashes discovered around the city from the same fires. For the first time, Colonel Beat from the British military had mentioned it in his texts as Burned City. Later, an Italian archeological team led by Martisotozi from 1346 to 1357 AH in this complex, which is named as the most advanced city in the ancient world, made many discoveries. But due to excavations, no traces of war equipment were found in the city and the reason of existence of ashes around the city is attributed to several steel furnaces, which suggests that a large fire may have occurred in this area. The reason for the existence of these furnaces is that many of the people of this city were craftsmen and others were farmers who lived together in peace and tranquility away from any war and conflict. According to studies and discoveries by two groups of Italian and Japanese archaeologists and the use of geophysical technologies, it was concluded that the city was very prosperous and had a regular and stable government with extensive trade relations with Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations. The region unique ecosystem has not been politically or economically dependent on these governments.

Jobs of Residents of Burnt City

Using their intelligence and powerful hands, these people created jobs for themselves and made a profit from it through trade. By making fishing nets, they were engaged in fishing, and in addition to meeting their nutritional needs, they also traded and generated income by selling the caught fish. Mosaics, textiles, goldsmithing, pottery, mat weaving, masonry, and jewelry making were among the other trades that people engaged in. To cut off these artistic and industrial activities, as well as to heat their homes, they cut down trees around the creek and used them as fuel.

Feeding the People of Shahr-i Sokhta

In addition to livestock, these people used to fish, birds, and crabs to feed and feed. Wheat, barley, hemp, as well as melon and grape seeds were also found to be other foods used by the residents of Shahr-i Sokhta of Zabul.

Animal Species of Burnt City

Due to the lake and river, aquatic animals have been found in this area, including fish and crabs. Also, the bones of goats, gazelles, and sheep have been found, indicating another species of animal in the area. Among these animals were waterfowl, including pheasants, ducks, and geese, which were also used to meet the needs of the locals.

Vegetation and Climate of the Region 5,000 Years Ago in Shahr-i Sokhta

The city was covered with greenery, along with a variety of plants and trees such as maple and poplar, along with the lake and the Hamun River which was full of water to meet the needs of the people of the city. In addition to these two water supplies, some streams and waterways helped to better meet this need. In the past, the area had a warm climate, and the presence of these water resources partially compensated for the heat, but with the passage of time and the drying up of the rivers and springs of the region, the soil of this city has dried up and turned into a desert with biting trees.

Surprises Discovered in Shahr-i Sokhta

A rectangular mannequin board with 20 houses on it and 60 pieces of azure, turquoise and opal beads have been found, which is claimed to be the oldest backgammon board in the world, even older than the backgammon found in the Royal Orur Cemetery. , In Mesopotamia.

The first animation made in the world in Burnt City

An earthenware cup with the role of a goat and a tree engraved on it is called the world’s first animation because when the goat grazes, the goat goes to the tree in five movements and eats its leaves. The cup is estimated to be 3,000 BC, and the cup was used to drink 10 meters of health. This cup, along with many pottery found in this city, is kept in the Museum of Ancient Persia in Tehran. The motifs on this pottery in the form of the sun were related to the worship of this creation at that time by the people of this civilization.

Jewelry in Shahr-i Sokhta

Shahr-i Sokhta has been the center of many industrial and artistic activities, and interesting and original examples of jewelry have been found there. The people of Shahr-i Sokhta were astonished by the technology of producing very thin sheets of gold and were able to produce very thin sheets of gold. The sheets were later decorated in a cylindrical shape, decorated with azure and turquoise beads, and then used as ornaments.

Written tablet discovered in Burnt City

The Elamite inscription refers to the city’s economic viability, using land and sea along the Persian Gulf to trade with the people of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Turkmenistan, and the Punjab Valley.

The stone arrows of the people in:

Thousands of stone arrows have been found in the city, which its inhabitants used to hunt birds.

The Marked Ruler Found in Shahr-i Sokhta

This 10 cm ruler, which is carefully marked every millimeter, shows the science of mathematics in that land.

How to bury the dead in Shahr-i Sokhta

The interesting thing about the burial of the dead is that the bodies are wrapped in special shrouds. Also, not only are the floors of the graves carpeted, but also objects made of wood, stone, cloth, or pottery have been discovered with the dead inside the graves which were placed as gifts in the tombs. Another discovery that reflects the genius of the people of this civilization is the discovery of works related to the textile industry, which shows the textile industry in this city. Sculptures and fences dating back thousands of years have also been found in the city. From Shahre Sukhteh, 12 types of fabrics and even fishing hooks have been obtained.

Common Medical Knowledge in Burnt City

Medical knowledge in Shahr-i Sokhta had advanced so astonishingly that doctors in the city were not only aware of sciences such as fractures, but were also able to perform surgery. A skeleton of a 12- or 13-year-old girl has been found in the city’s cemetery. The city has shown that doctors have also undergone eye surgery. This artificial eye, which dates back to 4,800 years ago, was made of gold and bitumen wires with animal fat, but features advanced natural capillary systems. The artificial eye belonged to a woman who was being held in her left eye by the holes around it, and a leather frame was found inside the woman’s grave, which was used to hold the artificial eye. According to the findings, a sculpture of the anatomy and the type of covering of this woman has been made, which has revealed the appearance features and the way of covering them to the public. The statue will be kept in the National Museum of Persia in Tehran with artificial eyes.

Shahr-i Sokhta as UNESCO World Heritage

Shahr-i Sokhta of Zabul was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014 as a World Heritage Site and Persia 17th Historic Site.

UNESCO World Heritage criteria of Shahr-i Sokhta

Criterion (ii): Shahr-i Sokhta shows a vast change in the human lifestyle from rural to urban, a large collection of important cultural, social, and economic developments from the late Bronze Age to the Bronze Age. This collection is a rich source of information that shows the emergence of complex societies and the relationship between them in the third millennium BC.

Criterion (iii): Shahr-i Sokhta is a unique historical testament to a complex civilization and its cultural customs. This civilization has had an interesting cultural and commercial relationship with other ancient civilizations such as the Indian subcontinent, the southern coastal civilizations of the Persian Gulf, and the Sea of Oman and Central Asia. Archaeological research proves that the city has played a very important role in areas such as working with metals, stone pipes, precious stones, and making pottery in the world.

Criterion (iv): The ancient complex of Shahr-i Sokhta is a unique example of the first urban plans. Archaeological excavations have uncovered artifacts such as brick structures, cemeteries, workshops, and handicraft products that have survived intact and testify to the city’s greatness, order, and wealth and its impact on ancient social structures. The city has different sections, with different uses. Residential section, industrial section, and cemetery. Later, the city was inspired by urban planning and planning in the Sistan region.

Location of Shahr-i Sokhta

In terms of location, Shahr-i Sokhta is located in southeastern Persia, Sistan and Baluchestan province, on the side of the Zabul-Zahedan road, and 56 km southwest of Zabul on the banks of the Helmand and Harun rivers.

When to Visit Shahr-i Sokhta

The city of Zabul has a hot and dry climate, so the best time to visit Zabul as a reason to visit Shahre-i Sokhta is on cool days of the year, in early March to early May and early October to early November.

Where to eat near of Shahr-i Sokhta

Zahedan Nab Restaurant

Nab Restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in Zahedan, where a variety of local dishes are prepared with a memorable taste. In Nab restaurant, you will experience the good taste of Sistani food.

Haj Ahmad Zahedan Restaurant

Haj Ahmad Restaurant is one of the well-known restaurants in Zahedan. In addition to tourists, locals also come to this restaurant to eat, and the restaurant has a high taste and quality.

Shamada Restaurant

Shamdeh Restaurant, which also has an interesting name, serves good quality food and is one of the famous restaurants in Zabul.

Pasargad Restaurant

Another good restaurant in Zabul is Pasargad Restaurant, which has acceptable quality.

Zabul cafe

Our cafe is a bright and welcoming cafe that serves a variety of hot and cold drinks and supper. You can relax in our cafe and have a drink.

Where to stay near of Burnt City

Esteghlal Hotel in Zahedan

This hotel has been built under international standards, and the location of the hotel in the heart of Zahedan has made it easy for travelers to access the city’s shopping and entertainment centers.

Zahedan Tourism Hotel

Zahedan Tourism Hotel is a 3* hotel in Zahedan. The hotel has 35 rooms and its most important facilities include a coffee shop, restaurant, traditional tea house, etc. The hotel is 167 km from Shahre Sukhteh

Aram Hotel Zabol

Aram Hotel in Zabol is another center that you can choose to stay in Zabol and its distance to the city center is 5 minutes.

Nimroz Hotel

Nimroz Hotel is one of the best accommodation in Zabol and this hotel is like a suite and has a large courtyard. By staying at there you can easily visit Shahre Sukhteh due to the close distance.

How to get to Shahr-i Sokhta

In Sistan and Baluchestan province, the cities of Zahedan and Zabul have airports, and due to the long distance from Tehran, air travel is the best option. For a land trip to Zahedan, you can also use the train, which is a long trip for you. Road travel is also possible by bus. If you are traveling with a personal car, you should enter Sistan and Baluchestan through South Khorasan, Kerman province of Hormozgan province, and from there to Zahedan.

How to Visit Shahr-i Sokhta

Go to Shahr-i Sokhta to enjoy the cool winds that blow from the southeast under the scorching sun of Sistan, breathe, and save the smell of the ancient history of Persia in your lungs because this is the first city in Persia!

You can also find civilizations around Shahr-i Sokhta of Zabul that include:

Plan your visit to Yahya Hill, Tal Iblis, Bam, and Shahdad, which have advanced civilizations.

*Our advice to you is to choose the mornings and evenings to visit Shahr-i Sokhta, because during these hours the weather is cooler and you have cool and sufficient water with you.

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