the great ziggurat of Ur-Nammu

December 16, 2016 General Studies

In ancient Sumeria the inhibatants went through great lengths to worship their gods properly. They built large mountain like bases for their grand temples. These bases, called ziggurats had many functions. The ancient Sumerians beleived that ziggurats represented sacred mountains that raised the temples towards the sky so that the faithful had to climb its steps to worship their gods. The ziggurat of Ur-Nammu is a prime example. They may have been giants compared to the temples atop them, but they are insignifigant in comparison. Their purpose was to add to experiance of visiting the temple and to make the temple visible from afar.

One of the largest Ziggurats in ancient Sumeria to demonstrate this is the great ziggurat of Ur-Nammu at Ur. The base of the ziggurat formed a rectangular measuring 39 by 58 meters, covering an area of 2262 square meters (or almost 128 by about 190 feet, yielding an area of over 24,335 square feet). The first stage of the ziggurat rose 6.25 meters (20.5 feet) into the air. The second stage was set back 4.11 meters (13.5 feet) and was constructed at some height and formed the base of a third stage. Its outer faces are constructed of baked brick, are inclined to a pronounced batter and have regularly spaced, flat buttresses. This ziggurat must seem gigantic compared to the retalivly flat area of Ur.

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Worshipers had to climb the many steps of the ziggurat to be granted access to the temple atop. The temple was the place of the gods epiphany. The epiphany is the apperance of the god and where the gods and mortal met. This symbolized the journey from earth to the sky called reverential climbing. It was important that you could not see the temple at the top of the ziggurat. This created an atmosphere of a journey of faith. .

Ziggurat was important because it made the temple of enlil eaiser to see.


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