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Ur travel guide — Ur tourism and travel information

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about Ur

Ur (or Urim) was an ancient city in Mesopotamia, originally located near the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers on the Persian Gulf and close to Eridu. The remains are now well inland in present-day Iraq, south of the Euphrates at 30° 95' N., 46° 5' E, and named Tell el-Mukayyar [1], near the city of Nasiriyah south of Baghdad.

The site is marked by the ruins of the ziggurat, which is still largely intact, and by the settlement mound. The ziggurat is a temple of Nanna and has two stages constructed from brick: in the lower stage the bricks are joined together with bitumen, in the upper stage they are joined with mortar.

Ur history

The earliest habitation at Ur was in the Ubaid period, the earliest stage of settlement in southern Mesopotamia. However it later appears to have been abandoned for a time.

Later, around 2600 BC, in the Sumerian Early Dynastic period III, the city was again thriving. Ur by this time was considered sacred to Nanna, the moon god in Sumerian mythology.

The location of Ur was favourable for trade by sea and also by land routes into Arabia. Many elaborate tombs including that of Queen Puabi [2] were constructed. Eventually the kings of Ur became the "official" rulers of Sumer, in what is known as the first dynasty of Ur, which was established by the king Mesannepada (or Mesanepada, Mes-Anni-Padda).

The first dynasty was ended by an attack by Sargon of Akkad around 2340 BC. Not much is known about the following period, except that there is thought to have been a second dynasty in power.

The third dynasty was established when the king Ur-Nammu (or Urnammu) came to power, ruling between 2112 BC and 2094 BC. During his rule, temples, including the ziggurat, were built and agriculture was improved through irrigation. His code of laws (a fragment was identified in Istanbul in 1952) is one of the oldest such documents known, preceding the code of Hammurabi. One of the surviving works of Sumerian literature describes the death of Ur-Nammu and his journey to the underworld.

The third dynasty fell around 1950 BC to the Elamites. Later Babylonia captured the city. Nanna was known to the Babylonians as Sin. The Babylonian city of Harran was also sacred to the god Sin.

In the Bible the city is named "Ur of the Chaldees", after the Chaldeans, who settled there around 900 BC. It is also described as the birthplace of Abraham, the largest city of Shinar or northern Chaldea, and the principal commercial centre of the country as well as the centre of political power.

In the 6th century BC there was new building in Ur under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. The last Babylonian king, Nabonidus of Babylonia improved the ziggurat. However the city started to decline from around 550 BC and was no longer inhabited after about 500 BC, perhaps due to drought caused by changing river patterns and/or the silting of the Gulf. It may have remained in use as a cemetery for some time afterward.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ur".

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