Ziggurat of Ur – A Red Monument in the Desert

The Ziggurat of Ur is one of the most ancient monuments there is. In fact, this crumbling structure of red mud bricks in the middle of the desert in Iraq is so old that “ancient” just might not be enough to cover it.

The Ziggurat of Ur was ancient when most of the pyramids of Egypt were still being built! The best we can figure, this pyramidal structure was built as in the centre of the adminitrative district in the great Mesopotamian city of Ur sometime in the 21st century … that’s BC! It is at least 4000 years old as we know it, and who knows what earlier structures stood on that spot before it.

The original Ziggurat was already ancient and crumbling in later eras of the Mesopotamian civilisation, so in the 6th century BC the then King rebuilt it. In the 1980s Saddam Hussein did some rebuilding of his own around the mound that remained of the original building.

These pyramid shaped ziggurat structures are some of the earliest large-scale monuments that we know of, and it is thought the legendary tower of Babylon would have been a very similar structure, only much larger in scale, from the descriptions we have to go on.

Since the overthrow of the Hussein regime in Iraq, the Ziggurat of Ur was under the guard of the coalition forces. It was finally handed back into the hands of local authorities by the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division on May 13, 2009.

During the Saddam years, access to the old brick monument was severely restricted, but now bus loads of soldiers regularly troop over there during freetime to take in some history and capture some photographic memories of standing on one of the oldest surviving buildings in the world. The origial structure might be crumbling, and it might be surrounded by much more recent attepts at renovation, but the sheer human significance of this place cannot be discounted. Finally, perhaps this beacon of history will serve as inpiration and education for many new generations, who will see its immortal red shape standing tall in the desrt sands.