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Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu: Most Intriguing Mysteries of Lost Civilizations

Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu: Today, no sign of the temple remains, although treasures of considerable sophistication have been found in the royal residences and tombs that were built in the temple.

Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu: Most Intriguing Mysteries of Lost Civilizations

By Mr Ghaz, December 22, 2010

 

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Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu: Most Intriguing Mysteries of Lost Civilizations

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Ziggurats dedicated to the moon god Nanna at Ur, show here in its reconstructed form, was originally built by King Ur-Nammu and his son and successor Shulgi in the early second millennium BCE.

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In the cities of southern Mesopotamia (roughly modern Iraq), the ancient Sumerians built their ziggurats in the form of temple mounts. These were massive constructions, consisting of a series of four-sided platforms with buttressed sides, liked by wide stone stairways, diminished in area as they rose in height. On the topmost platform, a monumental temple was erected, in belief that thus elevated, it would be a link between heaven and earth.

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The ziggurats were built sun-dried mud bricks, faces with a layer of kilnfired bricks, with bitumen on top to protect them from the weather. But once scavengers had chipped away at the protective outer layer, there was nothing to prevent the inner bricks from eroding away. Thus, very few ziggurats remain.

 

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The great at Ur, the lower section of which has been carefully preserved and restored, was built by Ur-Nammu roughly a thousand years after the first giant temples of the Sumerians first began to appear, but even so, Ur-Nammu retained the same basic features of the earlier ziggurats. On its topmost platform would have been a temple devoted to the Moon god Nanna, the chief god of Ur.

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Today, no sign of the temple remains, although treasures of considerable sophistication have been found in the royal residences and tombs that were built in the temple enclosure.

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The Ziggurat of Ur-Nammu. The Sumerian city of Ur, known in the Bible as Ur of the Chaldees, lay on the Euphrates River, in an area of southern Iraq then known as Mesopotamia. In round 2100BC, the area was controlled by Ur-Nammu, ruler of the city of Ur. He built many ziggurats, including those at Ur, Eridu, Uruk, and Nippur

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Palace at Knossos

 

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The archeologist, Sir Arthur Evans, began the first major excavations of Minon remains at Knossos in 1900, and soon realized that he was uncovering a site of enormous archeological importance. The extensive ruins seemed to be those of a vast ceremonial centre, perhaps even the palace of the legendary King Minos, who gave his name to one of the two great ancient civilizations of the Aegean, that of the Minoans.

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The site at Knossos is vast and multilayered, with 4,000 years of Neolithic settlements buried beneath the surface, all destroyed by earthquake, fire or the passing of time. Today, archeologists tend to believe that the site, now uncovered, was likely to have been a sacred place, rather than a palace, and that its main use may have switched from religious to temporal (or a combination of both) in the years before the whole site was destroyed by fire in about 1380BC.

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Its construction was probably begun in about 1720BC, on the site of an earlier palace that had been destroyed by an earthquake.

Whatever its function, enough of the palace at Knossos has been excavated to indicate a widespread complex of Buildings, centered on a grand courtyard and surrounded by shady colonnades and flights of stairs. These were built around light wells, designed to admit sunlight into the buildings, many of which were up to five-storeys-high. Of particular interest at Knossos are the naturalistic and lively frescoes, of which tantalizingly few survive; one that does, however, is the now-famous depiction of young men and women performing acrobatic feats on the backs of running bulls.

 

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Above: The Minoan Palace of Knossos.

This seems to have been shunned by later generations, because of its associations with the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. Besides the Bronze-Age palace, later buildings can also be seen at Knossos, dating from the time when it was the second city of Roman Crete.

 

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Below: The Grand Staircase at the Palace of Knossos.

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Comments (5)
Ranked #96 in History

Beautiful architecture.

Ranked #35 in History

very very interesting and such wonderful pictures

Ranked #13 in History

Another brilliant write my friend.

This a fantastic place, and very interesting to read..voted..and all!

Ranked #79 in History

I love reading stories such as these. The pictures are great as well!

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