Located in the lower Zagros Mountains, in the Susiana plains between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers, Susa comprises a group of artificial archaeological mounds rising on the eastern side of the Shavur River, encompassing large excavated areas, as well as the remains of Artaxerxes’ palace on the other side of the Shavur River. Susa developed as early as the late 5th millennium BCE as an important centre, presumably with religious importance, to soon become a commercial, administrative and political hub that enjoyed different cultural influences thanks to its strategic position along ancient trade routes. Archaeological research can trace in Susa the most complete series of data on the passage of the region from prehistory to history.Susa appears as the converging point of two great civilisations which reciprocally influenced each other: the Mesopotamian and the Iranian plateau civilizations.
Susa’s long-lasting and prominent role in the region, either as the capital of the Elamites, or of the Achaemenid Empire, or as a strategic centre sought by neighbouring powers (e.g., Assyrian, Macedonian, Parthian, Sassanid) is witnessed by the abundant finds, of disparate provenance and of exceptional artistic or scientific interest, and by the administrative, religious, residential and palatial, as well as functional structures and traces of urban layout (e.g., the remains of the Haute Terrasse in the Acropolis, the Palace of Darius in the Apadana, the residential or production quarters, the Ardeshir Palace) that more than 150 years of archaeological investigations have revealed.
More than 150 years of archaeological research and historical sources confirm that the property encompasses the site of the ancient city of Susa. The material and form of the architectural remains are historically authentic, although many of the decorative elements are now deposited in museums for protection. As a protected archaeological property, Susa is being conserved using scientific and philological methods and approaches. Therefore, the excavated remains have been stabilized and conserved respecting their architectural and planning design as well as their building materials. Susa was inscribed on the world heritage list of UNESCO in 2015 .