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The Sumerians were people who lived in Mesopotamia (Ancient Iraq) from the mid 6th millennium BC to the

Mesopotamia – A Brief Intro early 2nd millennium BC. Among their architectural accomplishments are the invention of urban planning,
the courtyard house, and ziggurat step pyramids. No architectural profession existed in Sumer; however,
scribes drafted and managed construction for the government, nobility, or royalty. The Sumerians were
aware of 'the craft of building' as a divine gift taught to men by the gods as listed in me 28. Sumerian
Architecture is the foundation of later Hebrew, Phoenician, Anatolian, Hittite, Hurrian, Ugaritic, Babylonian,
Assyrian, Persian, Islamic, and to a certain extent Grecoroman and therefore Western Architectures. The
story of Sumerian architecture is overwhelmingly one of clay masonry and of increasingly complex forms
of stacked bricks. Because these brick were unbaked Sumerian buildings eventually deteriorated. They
were periodically destroyed, leveled, and rebuilt on the same spot. This planned structural lifecycle
gradually raised the level of cities, so that they came to be elevated above the surrounding plain. The
resulting hills are known as tells, and are found throughout the ancient Near East. Civic buildings slowed
decay by using cones of colored stone, terracotta panels, and clay nails driven into the adobe-brick to
create a protective sheath that decorated the facade. Sumer lacking both forests and quarries, used
adobe-brick (also called mud-brick) as the primary material. Adobe-brick was preferred over vitrious
brick because of its superior thermal properties and lower manufacturing costs. red brick was used in
small applications involving water, decoration, and monumental construction. A late innovation was glazed
vitrious brick. Sumerian masonry was usually mortarless although bitumen was sometimes used. Brick
styles, which varied greatly over time, are categorized by period. [1]
Patzen 80×40×15 cm: Late Uruk period (3600–3200 BCE)
Riemchen 16×16 cm: Late Uruk period (3600–3200 BCE)
Plano-Convex 10x19x34 cm: Early Dynastic Period (3100–2300 BCE)

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Since rounded bricks are somewhat unstable, Sumerian bricklayers would lay a row of bricks perpendicular to
Mesopotamia – A Brief Intro the rest every few rows. The advantages to Plano-Convex bricks were the speed of manufacture as well as the
irregular surface which held the finishing plaster coat better than a smooth surface from other brick types.
Building materials other than brick were used for sheathing, flooring, roofing, doors, and special applications.
These materials include:
Earth plaster used to seal and finish exterior and interior spaces of common residences
Lime plaster used to seal and finish exterior and interior spaces of wealthy residences, places, and temples
a type of terrazzo used as flooring
The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) used for ceiling lintels
The giant reed (Fragmites communis) used for roofing and rammed earth foundations
Terracotta panels used for decoration
Bitumen used to seal plumbing
Espcecially prized were imported building materials such as cedar from Lebanon, diorite from Arabia, and
lapis lazuli from India.
The Sumerians were the first society to create the city itself as a built form. They were proud of this
achievement as attested in the Epic of Gilgamesh which opens with a description of Uruk its walls, streets,
markets, temples, and gardens. Uruk itself is significant as the center of an urban culture which both
colonized and urbanized western Asia.The construction of cities was the end product of trends which began in
the Neolithic Revolution. The growth of the city was partly planned and partly organic. Planning is evident in
the walls, high temple district, main canal with harbor, and main street. The finer structure of residential and
commercial spaces is the reaction of economic forces to the spatial limits imposed by the planned areas
resulting in an irregular design with regular features. Because the Sumerians recorded real estate
transactions it is possible to reconstruct much of the urban growth pattern, density, property value, and
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The typical city divided space into residential, mixed use, commercial, and civic spaces. The residential
areas were grouped by profession. At the core of the city was a high temple complex always sited slightly
off of the geographical center. This high temple usually predated the founding of the city and was the
nucleus around which the urban form grew. The districts adjacent to gates had a special religious and
economic function.The city always included a belt of irrigated agricultural land including small hamlets. A
Mesopotamia – Features

network of roads and canals connected the city to this land. The transportation network was organized in
three tiers: wide processional streets (Akkadian:sūqu ilāni u šarri), public through streets (Akkadian:sūqu
nišī), and private blind alleys (Akkadian:mūṣû). The public streets that defined a block varied little over
time while the blind-alleys were much more fluid. The current estimate is 10% of the city area was streets
and 90% buildings. The canals; however, were more important than roads for transportation.
Although Sumerian cylinder seals depict reed houses, the courtyard house was the predominant typology,
which has been used in Mesopotamia to the present day. This house called e (Cuneiform: E 2 𒂍, Sumerian:
e2; Akkadian: bītu) faced inward toward an open courtyard which provided a cooling effect by creating
convection currents. This courtyard called tarbaṣu (Akkadian) was the primary organizing feature of the
house, all the rooms opened into it. The external walls were featureless with only a single opening
connecting the house to the street. Movement between the house and street required a 90° turn through a
small antechamber. From the street only the rear wall of the antechamber would be visible through an
open door, likewise there was no view of the street from the courtyard. The Sumerians had a strict division
of public and private spaces. The typical size for a Sumerian house was 90 m 2.

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Mesopotamia – Features
The great ziggurat at Ur was built during the period 2113-2048 BC by the ruler Urnammu on the ruins of
previous temples and incorporating remains of earlier structures. The temple is dedicated to the moon good
Nnanna. The temple was constructed of mud bricks reinforced with thin layers of matting and cables of
twisted reeds. The Ziggurat was located in a temple complex. The complex comprised of the ziggurat and its
court, a secondary court attached to it called the court of Nannar. The king is also the chief priest of the
Mesopotamia – Ziggurat

temple and he has his residence close to the temple. A triple stairway with heavy bastions leads to the
summit of the first stage, where one passed through a portal, perhaps covered by a dome. A fourth stairway
gave access to the second and third stages. Nothing in reality remains of the top and what is shown in the
reconstruction is hypothetical. The Ziggurat temple was essentially a place for the worship of a good. In
Sumerian mythology, ziggurat as mountains united the heavens and the earth. So Gods would come down to
earth to the temple located on the ziggurat and pass instructions to the chief priest. The ziggurat temple is
also held to be the location of a holy wedding between god and a woman of his choice. People also climb the
mountains to achieve a holy experience and get closer to god. Because war was also common in the region,
the temple evolved as a place of last resort, where people could flee to when their city is under attack. The
mountain offered them a high position where they are protected and can defend themselves from attack by
their enemies. According to Herodotus, at the top of each ziggurat was a shrine, although none of these
shrines has survived. One practical function of the ziggurats was a high place on which the priests could
escape rising water that annually inundated lowlands and occasionally flooded for hundreds of miles, as for
example the 1967 flood. Another practical function of the ziggurat was for security. Since the shrine was
accessible only by way of three stairways,a small number of guards could prevent non-priests from spying
on the rituals at the shrine on top of the ziggurat, such as cooking of sacrificial food and burning of
carcasses of sacrificial animals. Each ziggurat was part of a temple complex that included a courtyard,
storage rooms, bathrooms, and living quarters, around which a city was built.
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Mesopotamia – Ziggurat
Khorsabad is a village in northern Iraq, 15 km northeast of Mosul, which is still today inhabited by Assyrians.
The great city was entirely built in the decade preceding 706 BC. After the unexpected death of Sargon in
battle, the capital was shifted 20 km south to Nineveh. The town was of rectangular layout and measured
Mesopotamia – Khorsabad
1760 * 1635 m. The enclosed area comprised 3 square kilometres, or 700 acres. The length of the walls was
16280 Assyrian units, which corresponded to the numerical value of Sargon's name. The city walls were
massive and 157 towers protected its sides. Seven gates entered the city from all directions. A walled
terrace contained temples and the royal palace. The main temples were dedicated to the gods Nabu,
Shamash and Sin, while Adad, Ningal and Ninurta had smaller shrines. A temple tower, ziqqurat, was also
constructed. The palace was adorned with sculptures and wall reliefs, and the gates were flanked with
winged bulls shedu statues weighing up to 40 tons. Sargon supposedly lost at least one of these winged bulls
in the river. The Palace of Sargon, Khorsabad (B.C. 722-705), is the best example of the general type, and has
been the most completely studied by means of systematic excavations, chiefly by Place. It was erected about
nine miles north- north-east of the ancient city of Nineveh, and with its various courts, chambers, and
corridors is supposed to have occupied an area of 25 acres. As in all Assyrian palaces, it was raised upon a
terrace or platform of brickwork faced with stone, 46 feet above the plain, from which it was reached by
means of broad stairways and sloping planes or ramps. The palace contained three distinct groups of
apartments, corresponding to the divisions of any palatial residence of modern Persia, Turkey, or India, viz. :
(a.) The Seraglio, including the palace proper, the men's apartments, ajid the reception rooms for visitors, in
all containing 10 courts, and no less than 60 rooms or passages ; (&.) the Harem, with the private apartments
of the prince and his family ; and (c.) the Khan or service chambers, arranged round an immense courtyard,
having an area of about 2| acres, and forming the principal court of the palace. There was also a temple
observatory on the western side of the platform. The great entrance portals on the south-east facade led
into the great court already mentioned. The Ziggurat is situated behind these temples on the northern west
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Mesopotamia – Khorsabad
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Mesopotamia – Khorsabad
Ancient Nineveh's mound-ruins of Kouyunjik and Nabī Yūnus are located on a level part of the plain near
the junction of the Tigris and the Khosr Rivers within an 1,800-acre (7 km2 ) area circumscribed by a 12-
kilometre (7.5 mi) brick rampart. It was Sennacherib who made Nineveh a truly magnificent city (c. 700
BC). He laid out new streets and squares and built within it the famous "palace without a rival", the plan
of which has been mostly recovered and has overall dimensions of about 503 by 242 metres (1,650 by
Mesopotamia – Nineveh

794 ft). It comprised at least 80 rooms, many of which were lined with sculpture. A large number of
cuneiform tablets were found in the palace. The solid foundation was made out of limestone blocks and
mud bricks; it was 22 metres (72 ft) tall. In total, the foundation is made of roughly 2,680,000 cubic
metres (3,505,308 cu yd) of brick (approximately 160 million bricks). The walls on top, made out of mud
brick, were an additional 20 metres (66 ft) tall. Some of the principal doorways were flanked by
colossal stone door figures weighing up to 30,000 kilograms (30 t); they included many winged lions or
bulls with a mans head. These were transported 50 kilometres (31 mi) from quarries at Balatai and they
had to be lifted up 20 metres (66 ft) once they arrived at the site presumably by a ramp. There are also
3,000 metres (9,843 ft) of stone panels carved in bas-relief, that include pictorial records documenting
every construction step including carving the statues and transporting them on a barge. One picture
shows 44 men towing a colossal statue. The carving shows 3 men directing the operation while standing
on the Colossus. Once the statues arrived at their destination the final carving was done. Most of the
statues weigh between 9,000 and 27,000 kilograms (19,842 and 59,525 lb).The stone carvings in the
walls include many battle scenes, impalings and scenes showing Sennacherib's men parading the spoils
of war before him. An elaborate system of eighteen canals brought water from the hills to Nineveh, and
several sections of a magnificently constructed aqueduct erected by Sennacherib were discovered at
Jerwan, about 65 kilometres (40 mi) distant.

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The ruins of Nineveh are surrounded by the remains
of a massive stone and mudbrick wall dating from
about 700 BC. About 12 km in length, the wall system
consisted of an ashlar stone retaining wall about
6 metres (20 ft) high surmounted by a mudbrick wall
about 10 metres (33 ft) high and 15 metres (49 ft)
Mesopotamia – Nineveh

thick. The stone retaining wall had a'foresticking
stone towers spaced about every 18 metres (59 ft).
The stone wall and towers were topped by three-step
merlons. The city wall was fitted with fifteen
monumental gateways. In addition to serving as
checkpoints on entering and exiting the city, these
structures were probably used as barracks and
armories. With the inner and outer doors shut, the
gateways were virtual fortresses. The bases of the
walls of the vaulted passages and interior chambers
of the gateway were lined with finely cut stone
orthostats about 1 metre (3 ft) high. A stairway led
from one of the interior chambers to the top of the
mudbrick wall. Five of the gateways have been
explored to some extent by archaeologists.

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Mari had been inhabited since the 5th millennium BC, but the real significance of the city was during the
third and second millennia BC. The inhabitants of Mari were a Semitic people, thought to be part of the same
Eblaite and Akkadian migration. The city flourished from about 2900 BC since it was strategically important
as a relay point between the Sumerian cities of lower Mesopotamia, and the cities of northern Syria. Sumer
required building materials such as timber and stone from northern Syria, and these materials had to go
through Mari to get to Sumer. Two significant archaeological discoveries were made that dated back to this
period. The palace of Zimri-Lim, a king of Mari, contained over 300 rooms. The palace was possibly the
largest of its time, and its reputation in neighboring cities and kingdoms was well-known.
Mesopotamia – Mari

It is the city of Mesopotamian era, no less than 5000 years ago. Its most famous leader was Zimri-Lim, who
reigned this city around 1800BCE, and who was also in control of the important trade route between Syria
and Mesopotamia, in which Mari was an important stopover. His royal palace, which actually existed
centuries before he came to power, was enormous at 200 by 120 metres, counting some 300 rooms. Still
now, the palace is the main point of interest for the visitor, and in order to protect it from the elements, it is
covered by a protective roof. While on our way to the palace, we already spotted several remains of pottery,
as Mari also used to be a place of artistic importance.

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Babylon was, nevertheless, the greatest city of the pre-modern era (well, at least before Rome)for example,
by 1600 BCE, the city was graced with a great number of well-designed public buildings and sturdy private
dwellings; it contained sweeping, tree-lined boulevards and breezy public squares; it held a majestic array of
terraced gardens where date-palms swayed and exotic animals prowled it contained shops and markets and
hostels and auditoriums (for both sporting events and theatre) at the centre of it all was the great Ziggurat of
Mesopotamia – Babylon

Marduk, possibly the largest ziggurat ever constructed; indeed, this structure is probably the inspiration for
the biblical “Tower of Babel”. And in the 8th century BCE, the Babylonians appear to have built one of the
greatest monuments to their civilization, the so-called “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” one of the Seven
Wonders of the Ancient World. Architecture of the Chaldean empire or neo - Babylonian Nabopolassar put the
foundations of a new tower of Babel. Old authors say that the square base of this tower measured 185 meters
of side and that its peak was raised to 204 meters of the ground.
The modern archaeologists mention more modest dimensions: 92 meters wide, having 6 floors stepped and
crowned by a temple had with tiles. It is not left to anything of her, single the Arab bricks that joined Loa to
construct part of Baghdad. The hanging gardens of Babylonia, probably constructed by king Nabucodonosor II
towards the 600 a. C., consisted of a series of landscaped terraces that formed an artificial mountain
species.
Etemenanki ("temple of the foundation of heaven and earth") was the name of a ziggurat dedicated to Marduk
in the city of Babylon of the 6th century BCE Neo-Babylonian dynasty. Originally seven stories in height, little
remains of it now save ruins. A Neo-Babylonian royal inscription of Nebuchadrezzar II on a stele from Babylon,
claimed to have been found in the 1917 excavation by Robert Koldewey,[1] and of uncertain authenticity, reads:
"Etemenanki[2] Zikkurat Babibli [Ziggurat of Babylon] I made it, the wonder of the people of the world, I raised
its top to heaven, made doors for the gates, and I covered it with bitumen and bricks." The Etemenanki is
depicted in shallow relief, showing its high first stages with paired flights of steps, five further stepped stages
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A floor plan is also shown, depicting the buttressed outer walls and the inner
chambers surrounding the central cella. The Etemenanki is described in a
cuneiform tablet from Uruk from 229 BCE, a copy of an older text (now in the
Louvre in Paris). It gives the height of the tower as seven stocks (91 meters)
with a square base of 91 meters on each side. This mud brick structure was
Mesopotamia – Babylon

confirmed by excavations conducted by Robert Koldewey after 1913. Large stairs
were discovered at the south side of the building, where a triple gate connected
it with the Esagila. A larger gate to the east connected the Etemenanki with the
sacred procession road (now reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin).

Tower Of Babel

Etemenaki Ziggurut
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