Saqqez is the extreme northern city of Kordestan province located in 187 kilometers of Sanandaj, the capital city of the province. However, Ziwiye ancient site or Ziwiye tepe confirms the antiquity of this region.
Ziwiye tepe or castle is located 50 kilometers to Saqqez in a village with the same name. five kilometers far from the village there a high hill with structures remained from 3000 years ago. Here is the same castle, state fortress or Ziwiye treasure. The height of this hill is 1835 meters and the castle is 450 meters length and 118 meters width. Ayub Rabbani, a Jewish, who was a pothunter, got the permission of excavation in this region from then government of Iran; he discovered a treasure of gold, silver and ivory placed in a bronze casket that becomes famous as the Treasure of Ziwiye. He sold some of the discovered objects to National Museum of Iran and smuggled most of it out of the country and they are now on display in great museums like British, Louvre and Metropolitan. Later, an American delegation under the supervision of Robert Dyson starts to excavate in this region and their 12 seasons excavations in the site in collaboration with Habibollah Qeddisi, Nosratollah Motamed and Simin Lakpout have made new discoveries in the region. The first professional report on these discoveries was published in a paper entitled Ziwiye Treasure by Andre Godard in 1950.
The building of this castle or fortress was three-story with 21 stone stairs. The foundation of stairs and columns was of the stone and walls were built of adobe. The first story a part of which has been still remained had a religious function and it is estimated to be a temple. Being located in the same level as the hillside made it easily accessible for people.
The second floor was built on a stone triangular bench due to the slope and it was residential. Interconnected painted rooms in blue, cream, black and brick colors differentiated it from other parts. The archery and bronze arrow discovered in this floor lead to the possibility of the second floor to be the residence of military force and army ammunition.
The third floor that is also called ruler residence has a barn that means it had been a secure place for the days of war and siege. This floor has wide rooms with large doors and windows and 12 stone capitals and some stone and wooden columns; Andre Godard has spoken about the table and chairs with bronze decorations in this hall.
The ground of this building paved with brick or tiles in some parts. there are two north and south gates in this castle and the gate that is placed in side of the mountain peak has beautiful tile decorations. The castle had water piping that was supplied from the springs in the neighboring mountains.
This castle belonged to Mana tribe whose capital was Iziriti or the same Saqqez. They are a livestock breeder that formed a union namely Manaei rule as the result of Assyrians dispute with Urartu. They had been culturally and artistically influenced by these two powerful neighbors. Consequently, the art used in Ziwiye can be considered as a combination of Assyrian and Urartu art. Girshman and Godard considered Ziwiye art to be local; Godard recognized it to be the local of Manaei and Girshman that of Meddes inspired by Urartu. Diakonoff also looks at this art as the local of Manaei that can be seen in Meddes style of Lorestan and Manaei style is categorized as the Urartu and Assyrian style.
There are no tourism facilities in this ancient hill and surrounding areas to attract tourists and history lovers to this unique place. Interesting among the other attractions of Saqqez are Domenar Mosque, Haj Saleh Historical Bath and Karaftu Cave.