The city of Ur (3rd millennium BC)

The city of Ur (3rd millennium BC)

The ancient city located near the river Euphrates was an important Sumerian centre.

History

Keywords

Sumerians, Ur, Euphrates, Mesopotamia, city-state, Abraham, Loftus, architecture, building, edifice, place of residence, dwelling, transportation, sanctuary, church, religion, temple tower, Ziggurat, 3rd millennium BC, defensive wall, antiquity, history

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Questions

  • Which Biblical figure was born in the city of Ur (according to the Bible)?
  • On the banks of which river was the ancient city of Ur situated?
  • According to myth, which city was Gilgamesh the king of?
  • Which people did not live in ancient Mesopotamia?
  • Which two rivers were the most important in ancient Mesopotamia?
  • In which present-day country are the ruins of Ur located?
  • Which ancient city was not located in Mesopotamia?
  • Which god was the shrine district in Ur dedicated to?
  • What type of script was used in ancient Mesopotamia?
  • What does the name Mesopotamia mean?
  • What is a ziggurat?
  • Is it true that ancient Mesopotamians used fired clay bricks?
  • Is it true that the ziggurats were only used for religious purposes?
  • Which building was the centre of the temple districts of ancient Mesopotamian cities?
  • What agricultural technique did the Sumerians use?
  • What is this sentence\nthe definition of?\n‘An organisation regulating the life of a community living on a given geographical area.’
  • What is this sentence\nthe definition of?\n‘A geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled by a common monarch.’
  • Who did not work in the temples?
  • Who organised the construction and maintenance of the canal system in ancient Mesopotamia?
  • Is it true that the symbols of cuneiform script initially stood for entire words, later for syllables?
  • What are the most important objects that preserved cuneiform script?
  • Which of these was not invented in Mesopotamia?
  • Which number was the Mesopotamian numerical system based on?
  • Who is the best known Babylonian king?
  • When did Hammurabi reign?
  • Who established the first city-states?
  • What was the scientific function of the ziggurat?
  • Is it true that the walls of houses in ancient Mesopotamia were often decorated with colourful mosaics?
  • In what form was the Code of Hammurabi preserved?
  • Which of the Wonders of the Ancient World is connected to Queen Semiramis?
  • What was not part of the ancient city of Ur?

Scenes

The city of Ur

  • city walls
  • ziggurat
  • temple district
  • canal
  • dwellings
  • port
  • river

Construction

Walk

Temple district

Dwellings

Animation

  • city walls
  • ziggurat
  • temple district
  • canal
  • dwellings
  • port
  • river

Narration

The city of Ur was an important Sumerian centre in ancient Mesopotamia. It was located in southern Mesopotamia, near the mouth of the Euphrates river on the Persian Gulf (in present-day Iraq).

Similarly to other Sumerian city-states, Ur had already been a powerful city in the 4th millennium BC. Due to its proximity to both the river and the sea, the city played an important role in trade. A canal was built across the city as was a safe port to aid shipping and transport. The port made Ur a flourishing trade centre, boosting its economy.

According to the Bible, Abraham was born here. The structure of the city was similar to other large urban centres established in ancient times. It was surrounded by protective walls. The internal structure was divided into a temple district and a residential district.

The temple district, also surrounded by a separate wall system, was constructed in several phases, making it large and spectacular. The temples and shrines were dedicated to the Sumerian’s chief god, the moon god Sin, and his wife Ningal, while the palaces were built for the monarchs, priests and priestesses. The largest and most important building on the site was the Ziggurat of Ur, one of the first real ziggurats (or terraced step pyramids), which consisted of three levels.
The isolation and central location of the religious district within the city reflects the hierarchy of Mesopotamian society.

The arrangement of residential buildings reflects the unordered, tight structure of early settlements. Dwellings were usually one or two-storey houses built of fired bricks and covered with mud. They were covered with flat roofs, which were used for storage.

The city was abandoned in the 4th century BC. The first archaeologist to describe the ruins of the ziggurat was William Kenneth Loftus in the early 19th century, but excavations of the city began relatively late, in the 20th century.

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