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Biblical Archaeology Review 49:3, Fall 2023

Where Is It?

1. Beersheba, Israel

2. Ur, Iraq

3. Susa, Iran

4. Hattusa, Turkey

5. Amman, Jordan

Answer: 2. Ur, Iraq

Towering above the ruins of one of the oldest cities in the world, the Great Ziggurat of Ur stands 100 feet tall with a base of 210 by 150 feet. It is located on the plain of Chaldea in southern Iraq, some 200 miles southeast of Baghdad. Built in the 21st century BCE, the ziggurat served as a temple platform. Unfortunately, the temple itself, which was dedicated to Nanna, the Sumerian moon god and Ur’s patron deity, has not survived.

Made of a mudbrick core encased by burnt bricks, the ziggurat deteriorated over time. In the sixth century BCE, the Babylonian king Nabonidus, who took a great interest in Mesopotamia’s ancient past, restored the ziggurat. Its present condition reflects a restoration by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.

Ur was a center of Sumerian civilization and was also known to the biblical writers as the birthplace of the patriarch Abraham (Genesis 11:31).

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