Shahr-e Sukhteh

Shahr-e Sukhteh
شهر سوخته
کاخ سوخته شهر سوحته.jpg
Location in Iran
Location in Iran
Location in Iran
Alternative nameBurnt City
LocationSistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran
Coordinates30°35′43″N 61°19′35″E / 30°35′43″N 61°19′35″E / 30.59528; 61.32639
Abandoned2100 BCE
PeriodsBronze Age
CulturesJiroft culture
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins
Public accessyes ( 08:00 -19:00)
Official nameShahr-i Sokhta
Criteriaii, iii, iv
Designated2014 (38th 1456

Shahr-e Sukhteh (Persian: شهر سوخته‎, meaning "[The] Burnt City"), also spelled as Shahr-e Sūkhté and Shahr-i Shōkhta, is an archaeological site of a sizable Bronze Age urban settlement, associated with the Jiroft culture. It is located in Sistan and Baluchistan Province, the southeastern part of Iran, on the bank of the Helmand River, near the Zahedan-Zabol road. It was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2014.[1][2]

Plaque identifying the Burnt City registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The reasons for the unexpected rise and fall of the Burnt City are still wrapped in mystery. Artifacts recovered from the city demonstrate a peculiar incongruity with nearby civilizations of the time and it has been speculated that Shahr-e-Sukhteh might ultimately provide concrete evidence of a civilization east of prehistoric Persia that was independent of ancient Mesopotamia.


Covering an area of 151 hectares, Shahr-e Sukhteh was one of the world’s largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. In the western part of the site is a vast graveyard, measuring 25 ha. It contains between 25,000 and 40,000 ancient graves.[3]

Entrance to the Burnt City

The settlement appeared around 3200 BCE. The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times before being abandoned in 1800 BCE.

Period Dating Settlement size
I 3200–2800 BCE 10–20 ha
II 2800–2500 45 ha
III 2500–2300 100 ha
IV 2300–2100

The site was discovered and investigated by Aurel Stein in the early 1900s.[4][5]

Beginning in 1967, the site was excavated by the Istituto italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO) team led by Maurizio Tosi. That work continued until 1978.[6][7][8] After a gap, work at the site was resumed by the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization team led by SMS Sajjadi.[9][10] New discoveries are reported from time to time.[11]

Most of the material discovered is dated to the period of c. 2700-2300 BCE. The discoveries indicate that the city was a hub of trading routes that connected Mesopotamia and Iran with the Central Asian and Indian civilizations, and as far away as China.

During the Period I, Shahr-e Sukhteh already shows close connections with the sites in southern Turkmenistan, with the Kandahar region of Afghanistan, the Quetta valley, and the Bampur valley in Iran. Also, there are the connections with the Proto-Elamite cities of Ḵuzestān and Fārs. During Period II, Shahr-e Sukhteh was also in contact with the pre-Harappan centers of the Indus valley, and the contacts with the Bampur valley continuted.[12]

Shahdad is another related big site that is being excavated. Some 900 Bronze Age sites have been documented in the Sistan Basin, the desert area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.[13]

Other Languages
العربية: شهر سوخته
беларуская: Шахры-Сухтэ
български: Шахре Сухте
català: Xahr-i Sokhta
español: Shahr-i Sokhta
Esperanto: Ŝahr-e Suĥteh
euskara: Xahr-i Sokhta
فارسی: شهر سوخته
français: Shahr-e Sokhteh
hrvatski: Šahri Suhte
italiano: Shahr-i Sokhta
ქართული: შაჰრი-სუჰტე
lietuvių: Šahri Suchtė
Nederlands: Shahr-e Sukhteh
नेपाली: शहर-ए सुखतह
português: Shahr-e Sūkhté
русский: Шахри-Сухте
slovenščina: Šahri Sohte
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Spaljeni grad
Türkçe: Shahr-e Sukhteh
українська: Шахрі-Сухте