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August 19, 2017

The Ancient City of Uruk

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Artist conception of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk.
Artist conception of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk.

Uruk was one of the longest continually habited cities in the history of humankind. Some scholars believe that parts of it were inhabited for nearly 5000 years, all the way from the times of the Ubaid people.

A walled city throughout most of its existence, Uruk consisted was made up of temples, palaces, homes, and gardens.

At its height around 2900 BCE, it is believe that Uruk had between 50,000โ€“80,000 residents living within a 6 square mile area, making it the largest city in the world at that time. Though falling into decline after 2000 BCE, the city was believed to have still been inhabited until sometime just before the Islamic conquest of the region in the late 500s, early 600s AD.

The two major temples within the city were temple of An and Eanna (god of the sky and House of Heaven) and the temple dedicated to the goddess of love, Inanna. It is in the later temple that archaeologists found the oldest known examples of writing.

Today the area near Uruk is known as the Iraq of Warka.

Uruk_vase
Sketch of part of a vase that was found in Uruk and stolen from Iraq in 2003. It was later returned.
Uruk_discovery
A discovery in Uruk
Uruk 002
A layout of what Uruk may have looked like. You can see the tall cone-shaped ziggurat in towards the upper center part of the city.
Bit Resh temple at Uruk or Warka (known in the Bible as Erech). A 4th millenium BC site.
Bit Resh temple at Uruk or Warka (known in the Bible as Erech). A 4th millenium BC site.
Part_of_front_of_Inanna_temple_of_Kara_Indasch_from_Uruk_Vorderasiatisches_Museum_Berlin
Part of the front of the Inanna temple of Uruk. It is today in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
Mask of Warka
“Mask of Warka” found on the site of ancient Uruk in Iraq
Lugal-kisal-si_king of Uruk
Part of a statue of Lugal-kisal-si, king of Uruk

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