Meaning of Ziggurat

What is a Ziggurat:

A ziggurat is a type of construction corresponding to ancient Mesopotamia in the shape of a stepped pyramid. Its function was religious so it is also spoken of as a temple. They belong to the ancient Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonians, and Assyrian peoples. At least 34 ziggurats existed, the majority in present-day Iraq but also in Iran.

Ziggurat (ziqqurat, in Akkadian) means "to build on an elevated site." The ziggurats were dedicated to a divinity. It towered over the city like a place built between heaven and earth. These buildings had a religious character, especially the temple located in the upper part. In it, rites and sacrifices were performed as ritual kitchens. It also served as an astronomical observatory for the priests. Other of its functions was security because there was only access to the top through the stairs, guarded by a small number of guards. It also had a more practical function since it was the place where the priests took refuge from the floods.

The plan was square or rectangular and was built with 3, 4 or 7 levels that could reach up to 30 meters in height to form its characteristic stepped pyramid shape.The interior was built with sun-dried adobe and the exterior with kiln-fired bricks. In the highest part there was a sacred temple.

Ziggurat of Ur

It is one of the best known ziggurats and although only its base remains, it is one of the best preserved. In Sumerian it was known as Etemeniguru (house whose base causes terror). The base of the Ur ziggurat was 64 meters long and 46 meters wide. The Sumerian king Ur-Nammu commissioned its construction in the 21st century BC, corresponding to the Bronze Age. It was rebuilt in the 6th century BC. and rediscovered in 1920. It was located within a religious and administrative compound dedicated to the moon-goddess Nanna / Sîn in the city of Ur (in present-day Iraq). Only a large block of three layers of bricks is preserved, the lower layer being from the time of Ur-Nammu. The facade and the staircase were restored in the 20th century.

Ziggurat of Marduk

The ziggurat of Marduk, located in the city of Babylon, is also known as the Etemenanki (House of Earth and Heaven, in Sumerian). This ziggurat was built in the 6th century BC. In its original form it was up to 8 stories high although little has been preserved of this building. The Tower of Babel, which appears in the Old Testament, could be a reference to the ziggurat of Marduk.

Tags:  Religion-And-Spirituality General Expressions-In-English