Tag Archives: ziggurat

Marveling at the “Great Ziggurat of Ur”

The Great Ziggurat of Ur is one of the most recognizable monuments in the history of Mesopotamia, as well as the world. To this day, the iconic step pyramid, with its 4,000+-year-old original foundations still intact, supporting relatively recent restorations, can be visited at Tell al-Mukayyar, near the modern-day Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, just a little over 200 miles south of Baghdad.

The Ziggurat of Ur was originally built in 2100 BC, by King Ur-Nammu, who dedicated it to the moon god Nanna, Ur’s patron deity. The structure’s measurements, consisting of mud brick, baked brick and bitumen to hold it together, are 210 ft. (64 m.) in length, 150 ft. (46 m.) in width, and its height is speculated to have been over 100 ft. (30 m.).

By the 6th century BC, the Ziggurat had crumbled, and King Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, took it upon himself to order the restoration of the great shrine.

Thank you, King Nabonidus! The Ziggurat of Ur has seen much since it was built thousands of years ago, including the recent wars in Iraq, which did damage it some, but the iconic structure still towers over the land where it stands today.

Now, let’s marvel at this iconic piece of history through the years, with pictures, from the early 19th century AD, when it was first described, to the present day.

The 1850’s

The 1920’s

The 1960’s

The 1970’s

The 1980’s

The 2000’s

(Did you notice that there are no pictures dating from the 40’s, 50’s or 90’s? None seem to exist, unless we missed them. If you know where we can find any from those decades, please let us know as we’d love to include them!)

*Update: We originally had a picture from the 1930s, but the link is dead, so we took it out, as we could not find any other from that time we can attribute or be sure is from that decade.

Further reading:


Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Sumerian, Ur


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Current photos of Iraq’s archaeological sites

These days, I imagine there are few people who can really get around Iraq’s archaeological sites without difficulty, and even fewer who have the know-how to take the kinds of pictures that are high in quality and resolution, are useful and educational, and don’t feature themselves in foreground with their thumbs up like they’re standing in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disney World.

In short, there is a shortage of current pictures that show on-site archaeology in Iraq and the effects of the current events on those archaeological sites.

That is why when I came across this page of a photo album by an American who served in Iraq I felt I had to peruse the wealth of high-quality pictures that include archaeological sites, as well as the modern side of Iraq in recent years.

You can get a pretty good look at the Zigurrat at Ur, among other breathtaking photos:

Zigurrat at Ur.

Although the descriptions are very informal, the pictures are priceless.

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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Sumerian


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