Ziggurat - Ancient Towering Temples or Ziggurats

Ur Ziggurat Ruins
Ur Ziggurat Ruins. CC Flickr User The National Guard.

Definition: Ziggurats were ancient towering, stepped structures made of mud brick that appear to have served as temples to the ancient gods of Mesopotamia. Ziggurat bases were square or rectangular. Their walls were sloping.

To build a ziggurat, builders stacked squares of diminishing size, like a step pyramid, but unlike a step pyramid there were stairs to climb to the next higher level. With a base of about 50 feet to a side, ziggurats may have been as high as 150 feet.

At the top was a small room assumed to be a religious place. Ziggurats may have been conceived of as homes for the ancient gods.

Alternate Spellings: ziqqurrat

Examples: The best preserved ziggurat is the ziggurat of Elamite king Untash-Napirisha (c. 1340-1300) 40 km from Susa, and devoted to Napirisha. It is now in the province of Khuzestan, Iran. The Tower of Babel may have been the ziggurat of Marduk in Babylon.

Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter

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