Burnt city (Shahr-e Soukhte in Persian) is located near Zabol in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Balouchestan.
Located at the junction of the Bronze Age trade routes crossing the Iranian plateau, the remains of the mud-brick city represent the emergence of the first complex societies in eastern Iran.
One of the largest and richest Bronze Age sites in Iran and the Middle East, the Burnt City is believed by some to have been the capital of an ancient civilization that flourished on the banks of the Helmand River nearly 5,200 years ago.
The structures, burial grounds and large number of significant artifacts unearthed there, and their well-preserved state due to the dry desert climate, make this site a rich source of information regarding the emergence of complex societies and contacts between them in the third millennium BC.
Spanning more than 300,000 hectares, the site had extensive commercial, political, and social relations with other important cities in the region's northeastern and western areas.
Archaeological remains and finds indicate the key role of the city on a very large scale in terms of working with metals, stone vessels, gems and pottery in southern shores of the Persian Gulf, the Oman Sea and South-west Iran, and Central Asia.
Four civilizations lived in the city, which was burnt down three times and not rebuilt after the last fire.
Excavations have revealed well-preserved evidence in the form of its mud-brick structures, burial grounds, workshops and artifacts that confirm its size, organization, the source of its wealth and its trade and social structures.
The city was separated into different sections for a number of functions - residential, industrial and burial; it therefore represents an important stage in urban planning in the region.
The labyrinthine succession of rooms, corridors and courtyards give a genuine impression of the ancient buildings.
The ancient site was registered on the World Heritage List in 2014.