Advertisement
8. Ziggurat of Ur

The Ziggurat of Ur is a structure found in Southeastern Iraq in the ancient city of Ur now Dhi Qar Province. Construction of the Great Ziggurat was started by King Ur-Nammu and finished by King Shulgi during the 21st century BCE. It remained in use and was restored 1500 years later in the Neo-Babylonian period. The remains of the structure were discovered in the mid-1800s by William Kennett Loftus and excavations at the site started shortly after.

At the time of its construction, the Ziggurat of Ur was not particularly special, as similar structures have been found throughout the Iranian Peninsula. Ziggurats, basically pyramids that are flat on the top were built within complexes of other temples and used as places of worship. Historians believe that the flat tops of the ziggurats carried shrines to deities, but it has not been verified by any other discoveries at the sites.

7. Restoration

Advertisement
Despite being a fairly familiar sight in the ancient world, the Great Ziggurat at Ur does hold special historical significance now. Because of the various restoration efforts throughout its history, starting with King Nabonidus in the 6th century BCE, who did unrestricted excavations in the early 20th century, and Saddam Hussein’s restoration in the 1980s. The Great Ziggurat is now the best preserved ancient structure of its kind in the world.

That doesn’t mean it’s in perfect condition, though. Only the base remains today, and it was damaged greatly during the Gulf War. But, in its bloom the ziggurat was an estimated 100 feet tall, 210 feet long and 150 feet wide. That’s quite an impressive feat considering that the entire building was just made of mud!

6. Tikal

The ruins of Tikal are hidden deep within the Guatemalan Rainforest. Artifacts from the site have been dated back to 1000 BCE, and the ruins show evidence that the city was populated continuously until the 11th century CE.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement