Khorsabad is 15 km north of Nineveh and lies at the foot of Mount Musri. A canal supplied water to the city which was fortified by a quadrangular defensive wall made from stone and mud brick, with eight gates, seven of which have been found. The defensive wall was some 1,750 by 1,650 metres long. As the city was only partly occupied, the only large building, beside the citadel, was the Palace F, to the south of the city, identified as an arsenal.

The citadel

The fortified citadel to the north of the city had two gates guarded by bulls. At the foot of the palace were four residences (K, L, J and M) and a temple dedicated to Nabu, the god of scribes. Built to resemble small palaces, the residences were assigned to high dignitaries but only Residence L has been clearly identified as belonging to the Grand Vizir, the brother of Sargon, Sinahusur.

The surroundings of the palace

The palace stood on a terrace straddling the city wall, a disposition not found in other palaces in Mesopotamia, and was itself protected by an enceinte. It was built on an artificial earth terrace with a stone support wall some 10 metres high and accessed via a large ramp. The palace facade with a triple gateway was decorated with large reliefs of bulls, genies and heroes. It opened on to a large courtyard giving access to the various sectors: the palace to the north, the temples to the southwest, and the storage areas to the east.