The Ziggurat de Ur is an ancient ziggurat located next to the ruins of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, in present-day Iraq.
It was built as a place of worship of the god Nanna (“moon”, in Sumerian), during the Ubaid period, and rebuilt in the 21st century BCE by King Ur-Nammu.
It was destroyed by the Elamites and later ordered to be rebuilt by the king Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.
The remains of this ancient stepped Pyramid were excavated in the 1920’s and 1030’s by Sir Leonard Woolley, but it was discovered by William Kennett Loftus in 1850.
Besides the ancient Ziggurat of Dur Untash, the Ziggurat of Ur is one of the best preserved ancient structures of the period.
In fact, the Ziggurat of Ur is one of three well-preserved structures of the Neo-Sumerian city of Ur.
Nanna was considered the God of the moon—referred to as the ‘Bright one’—in ancient Mesopotamian mythology and the son of Enlil and Ninlil. Enlil was the Lord of the Air and Earth, and the guardian of the table of Destiny.
The massive temple—a step pyramid—is believed to have measured around 64 meters in length, 45 meters in width and more than 30 meters in height, although the height of the temple remains a subject of debate as only its foundations survived.
According to scholars, the Ziggurat of UR was completed in the 21st century BCE, by King Shugi, who proclaimed himself a God in order to win the allegiance of cities. He eventually ruled for 48 years and saw Ur grow to become the capital of the state, eventually controlling most parts of ancient Mesopotamia.
The Ziggurat of Ur was surrounded by a wall stretching 8 meters in height and was partially restored in the late 1970s.
The ziggurat was damaged during the First Gulf War in 1991 by firearms and the structure was moved due to the explosions.
The ancient city of Ur was considered one of the most important ancient Mesopotamian cities in history.
The city is believed to have been founded around 3,800′ BC, during the so-called Ubaid period.
The first recorded king of Ur was Mesannepada, who is listed as having ruled for 80 years.
The Ziggurat of Ur was chosen in 2016 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the candidacy for “Refuge of biodiversity of the” ahwar “and archaeological landscape of the Mesopotamian cities of Southern Iraq”.
Featured image credit: Shutterstock.