The Ziggurat at Ur

Around 2100 BCE the king Ur-Nammu, founder of the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur, started the construction of a series of ziggurat buildings, it is also important to mention that in his time the first legal code was written. He was eventually deified because of his piety and his reputation of building and restoring shrines.

The Ziggurat from Ur is situated in modern day Tell el-Mukayyar, in Iraq. As I said before, the project was started by Ur-Nammu, but it was finished by his son, King Shulgi. With time, the building suffered a series of restorations, the most important are in neo-Babylonian times (6 BCE), by king Nabonidus and it is believed that he greatly modified the original structure, and in the 1980s, when Saddam Husein ordered the rebuilding of the facade and the main staircase.

It consisted of three inward sloping platforms with the base measuring approx. 60 by 40 meter. Because only the first platform is left standing we can not say for sure how tall the structure was, estimates are around 42 meters. On top, a temple dedicated to the moon god Nannu was constructed, it was most probably an enclosed rectangular building.

The temple and the upper stages were accessible only to priests, so the monument was not dedicated to ordinary people, in fact, it was considered to be the home on Earth of the particular god, in our case, Nannu. The one responsible for uncovering this treasure was Sir Leonard Woolley who excavated the remains between 1920 and 1930.

The guide showing a drawing of how the ziggurat originally might of looked.


Roberto said...

Interesting. I arrived at this site after reading an article on the American troops withdrawing from Iraq (today) and it mentioned the ziggurat. I was not even aware of this important monument so looked it up on Google. If the world were to emphaise world history and commonalities in ancient civilisations, perhaps there would be less grief in the world today. We should celebrate our share human history, and we should all be aware that 2000 years, even 5000 years is nothing in the 180,000 years that humans have left their original breeding ground in East Africa (a place we occupied for a mere 6 million years).

Florin Cosma said...

Beautiful words Roberto, hope you will keep reading Awil-um, all the best.

steveo said...

I visited this site for the first time in October 2003 as a contractor and came back to this site over the next 5 years from time to time. Adjacent to the site are ruins of burial tombs, an original royal palace and a little further over the birth place of Abraham, the father of Judeo Christianity and Islam. An amazing place of origin to modern day religions.

Florin Cosma said...

Thank you for your wonderful comment and for sharing with all of us this information.

steveo said...

I have several pictures of this area if you need any for your own use. The tour guide in the article was the same tour guide that took me through. His family has been doing this for several generations. I have pictures of some of the cuneiform bricks inlaid near the royal burial tombs. It would be great to have them translated, but I haven't found anyone who can do it.

Florin Cosma said...

Please share with me your information, I am very interested. You can find my email in the Facebook box on the left, if not, let me know and I will write it here.

All the best.