Uruk, today known as Warka, was a city in the ancient Near East situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates. The site lies 93 kilometers (58 miles) northwest of ancient Ur, 108 kilometers (67 miles) southeast of ancient Nippur, and 24 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of ancient Larsa. It is 30 km (19 mi) east of modern Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.

Uruk is the type site for the Uruk period. Uruk played a leading role in the early urbanization of Sumer in the mid-4th millennium BC. By the final phase of the Uruk period around 3100 BC, the city may have had 40,000 residents, with 80,000–90,000 people living in its environs, making it the largest urban area in the world at the time. King Gilgamesh, according to the chronology presented in the Sumerian King List (henceforth SKL), ruled Uruk in the 27th century BC. The city lost its prime importance around 200...Read more

Uruk, today known as Warka, was a city in the ancient Near East situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates. The site lies 93 kilometers (58 miles) northwest of ancient Ur, 108 kilometers (67 miles) southeast of ancient Nippur, and 24 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of ancient Larsa. It is 30 km (19 mi) east of modern Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.

Uruk is the type site for the Uruk period. Uruk played a leading role in the early urbanization of Sumer in the mid-4th millennium BC. By the final phase of the Uruk period around 3100 BC, the city may have had 40,000 residents, with 80,000–90,000 people living in its environs, making it the largest urban area in the world at the time. King Gilgamesh, according to the chronology presented in the Sumerian King List (henceforth SKL), ruled Uruk in the 27th century BC. The city lost its prime importance around 2000 BC in the context of the struggle of Babylonia against Elam, but it remained inhabited throughout the Achaemenid (550–330 BC), Seleucid (312–63 BC) and Parthian (227 BC to AD 224) periods until it was finally abandoned shortly before or after the Islamic conquest of 633–638.

William Kennett Loftus visited the site of Uruk in 1849, identifying it as "Erech", known as "the second city of Nimrod", and led the first excavations from 1850 to 1854.

 Devotional scene to Inanna, Warka Vase, c. 3200–3000 BC, Uruk. This is one of the earliest surviving works of narrative relief sculpture.

According to the SKL, Uruk was founded by the king Enmerkar. Though the king-list mentions a father before him, the epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta relates that Enmerkar constructed the House of Heaven (Sumerian: e2-anna; cuneiform: ???????? E2.AN) for the goddess Inanna in the Eanna District of Uruk. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh builds the city wall around Uruk and is king of the city.

Uruk went through several phases of growth, from the Early Uruk period (4000–3500 BC) to the Late Uruk period (3500–3100 BC).[1] The city was formed when two smaller Ubaid settlements merged. The temple complexes at their cores became the Eanna District and the Anu District dedicated to Inanna and Anu, respectively.[1] The Anu District was originally called 'Kullaba' (Kulab or Unug-Kulaba) prior to merging with the Eanna District. Kullaba dates to the Eridu period when it was one of the oldest and most important cities of Sumer.

The Eanna District was composed of several buildings with spaces for workshops, and it was walled off from the city. By contrast, the Anu District was built on a terrace with a temple at the top. It is clear Eanna was dedicated to Inanna from the earliest Uruk period throughout the history of the city.[2] The rest of the city was composed of typical courtyard houses, grouped by profession of the occupants, in districts around Eanna and Anu. Uruk was extremely well penetrated by a canal system that has been described as "Venice in the desert".[3] This canal system flowed throughout the city connecting it with the maritime trade on the ancient Euphrates River as well as the surrounding agricultural belt.

The original city of Uruk was situated southwest of the ancient Euphrates River, now dry. Currently, the site of Warka is northeast of the modern Euphrates river. The change in position was caused by a shift in the Euphrates at some point in history, which, together with salination due to irrigation, may have contributed to the decline of Uruk.

Archaeological levels of Uruk

Archeologists have discovered multiple cities of Uruk built atop each other in chronological order.[4]

Uruk XVIII Eridu period (c. 5000 BC): the founding of Uruk Uruk XVIII–XVI Late Ubaid period (4800–4200 BC) Uruk XVI–X Early Uruk period (4000–3800 BC) Uruk IX–VI Middle Uruk period (3800–3400 BC) Uruk V–IV Late Uruk period (3400–3100 BC): the earliest monumental temples of Eanna District are built Uruk III Jemdet Nasr period (3100–2900 BC): the 9 km city wall is built Uruk II Uruk IAnu District
Anu/ White Temple ziggurat
 
 
Anu / White Temple ziggurat at Uruk. The original pyramidal structure, the "Anu Ziggurat" dates to around 4000 BC, and the White Temple was built on top of it circa 3500–3000 BC.[5]

Unlike the Eanna district, the Anu district consists of a single massive terrace, the Anu Ziggurat, dedicated to the Sumerian sky god Anu. Sometime in the Uruk III period the massive White Temple was built atop of the ziggurat. Under the northwest edge of the ziggurat an Uruk VI period structure, the Stone Temple, has been discovered.

The Stone Temple was built of limestone and bitumen on a podium of rammed earth and plastered with lime mortar. The podium itself was built over a woven reed mat called ĝipar, which was ritually used as a nuptial bed. The ĝipar was a source of generative power which then radiated upward into the structure.[6] The structure of the Stone Temple further develops some mythological concepts from Enuma Elish, perhaps involving libation rites as indicated from the channels, tanks, and vessels found there. The structure was ritually destroyed, covered with alternating layers of clay and stone, then excavated and filled with mortar sometime later.

 Uruk King priest feeding the sacred herd

The Anu Ziggurat began with a massive mound topped by a cella during the Uruk period (c. 4000 BC), and was expanded through 14 phases of construction. These phases have been labeled L to A3 (L is sometimes called X).[7] The earliest phase used architectural features similar to PPNA cultures in Anatolia: a single chamber cella with a terrazzo floor beneath which bucrania were found. In phase E, corresponding to the Uruk III period (c. 3200–3000 BC), the White Temple was built. The White Temple could be seen from a great distance across the plain of Sumer, as it was elevated 21 m and covered in gypsum plaster which reflected sunlight like a mirror. In addition to this temple the Anu Ziggurat had a monumental limestone-paved staircase and a trough running parallel to the staircase was used to drain the ziggurat.

Eanna District  Eanna IVa (light brown) and IVb (dark brown)

The Eanna district is historically significant as both writing and monumental public architecture emerged here during Uruk periods VI–IV. The combination of these two developments places Eanna as arguably the first true city and civilization in human history. Eanna during period IVa contains the earliest examples of writing.[8]

The first building of Eanna, Stone-Cone Temple (Mosaic Temple), was built in period VI over a preexisting Ubaid temple and is enclosed by a limestone wall with an elaborate system of buttresses. The Stone-Cone Temple, named for the mosaic of colored stone cones driven into the adobe brick façade, may be the earliest water cult in Mesopotamia. It was "destroyed by force" in Uruk IVb period and its contents interred in the Riemchen Building.[9]

 An Uruk period cylinder-seal and its impression, c. 3100 BC. Louvre

In the following period, Uruk V, about 100 m east of the Stone-Cone Temple the Limestone Temple was built on a 2 m high rammed-earth podium over a pre-existing Ubaid temple, which like the Stone-Cone Temple represents a continuation of Ubaid culture. However, the Limestone Temple was unprecedented for its size and use of stone, a clear departure from traditional Ubaid architecture. The stone was quarried from an outcrop at Umayyad about 60 km east of Uruk. It is unclear if the entire temple or just the foundation was built of this limestone. The Limestone Temple is probably the first Inanna temple, but it is impossible to know with certainty. Like the Stone-Cone temple the Limestone temple was also covered in cone mosaics. Both of these temples were rectangles with their corners aligned to the cardinal directions, a central hall flanked along the long axis by two smaller halls, and buttressed façades; the prototype of all future Mesopotamian temple architectural typology.

 Tablet from Uruk III (c. 3200–3000 BC) recording beer distributions from the storerooms of an institution,[10] British Museum

Between these two monumental structures a complex of buildings (called A–C, E–K, Riemchen, Cone-Mosaic), courts, and walls was built during Eanna IVb. These buildings were built during a time of great expansion in Uruk as the city grew to 250 hectares and established long-distance trade, and are a continuation of architecture from the previous period. The Riemchen Building, named for the 16×16 cm brick shape called Riemchen by the Germans, is a memorial with a ritual fire kept burning in the center for the Stone-Cone Temple after it was destroyed. For this reason, Uruk IV period represents a reorientation of belief and culture. The facade of this memorial may have been covered in geometric and figural murals. The Riemchen bricks first used in this temple were used to construct all buildings of Uruk IV period Eanna. The use of colored cones as a façade treatment was greatly developed as well, perhaps used to greatest effect in the Cone-Mosaic Temple. Composed of three parts: Temple N, the Round Pillar Hall, and the Cone-Mosaic Courtyard, this temple was the most monumental structure of Eanna at the time. They were all ritually destroyed and the entire Eanna district was rebuilt in period IVa at an even grander scale.

During Eanna IVa, the Limestone Temple was demolished and the Red Temple built on its foundations. The accumulated debris of the Uruk IVb buildings were formed into a terrace, the L-Shaped Terrace, on which Buildings C, D, M, Great Hall, and Pillar Hall were built. Building E was initially thought to be a palace, but later proven to be a communal building. Also in period IV, the Great Court, a sunken courtyard surrounded by two tiers of benches covered in cone mosaic, was built. A small aqueduct drains into the Great Courtyard, which may have irrigated a garden at one time. The impressive buildings of this period were built as Uruk reached its zenith and expanded to 600 hectares. All the buildings of Eanna IVa were destroyed sometime in Uruk III, for unclear reasons.[citation needed]

The architecture of Eanna in period III was very different from what had preceded it. The complex of monumental temples was replaced with baths around the Great Courtyard and the labyrinthine Rammed-Earth Building. This period corresponds to Early Dynastic Sumer c. 2900 BC, a time of great social upheaval when the dominance of Uruk was eclipsed by competing city-states. The fortress-like architecture of this time is a reflection of that turmoil. The temple of Inanna continued functioning during this time in a new form and under a new name, 'The House of Inanna in Uruk' (Sumerian: e2-dinanna unuki-ga). The location of this structure is currently unknown.[2]

Uruk into Late Antiquity

Although it had been a thriving city in Early Dynastic Sumer, especially Early Dynastic II, Uruk was ultimately annexed by the Akkadian Empire and went into decline. Later, in the Neo-Sumerian period, Uruk enjoyed revival as a major economic and cultural center under the sovereignty of Ur. The Eanna District was restored as part of an ambitious building program, which included a new temple for Inanna. This temple included a ziggurat, the 'House of the Universe' (Cuneiform: E2.SAR.A) to the northeast of the Uruk period Eanna ruins.

 Partially reconstructed facade and access staircase of the Ziggurat of Ur, originally built by Ur-Nammu, Neo-Sumerian period, circa 2100 BC

The ziggurat is also cited as Ur-Nammu Ziggurat for its builder Ur-Nammu. Following the collapse of Ur (c. 2000 BC), Uruk went into a steep decline until about 850 BC when the Neo-Assyrian Empire annexed it as a provincial capital. Under the Neo-Assyrians and Neo-Babylonians, Uruk regained much of its former glory. By 250 BC, a new temple complex the 'Head Temple' (Akkadian: Bīt Reš) was added to northeast of the Uruk period Anu district. The Bīt Reš along with the Esagila was one of the two main centers of Neo-Babylonian astronomy. All of the temples and canals were restored again under Nabopolassar. During this era, Uruk was divided into five main districts: the Adad Temple, Royal Orchard, Ištar Gate, Lugalirra Temple, and Šamaš Gate districts.[11]

Uruk, known as Orcha (Ὄρχα) to the Greeks, continued to thrive under the Seleucid Empire. During this period, Uruk was a city of 300 hectares and perhaps 40,000 inhabitants.[11][12][13] In 200 BC, the 'Great Sanctuary' (Cuneiform: E2.IRI12.GAL, Sumerian: eš-gal) of Ishtar was added between the Anu and Eanna districts. The ziggurat of the temple of Anu, which was rebuilt in this period, was the largest ever built in Mesopotamia.[13] When the Seleucids lost Mesopotamia to the Parthians in 141 BC, Uruk continued in use.[14] The decline of Uruk after the Parthians may have been in part caused by a shift in the Euphrates River. By 300 AD, Uruk was mostly abandoned, but a group of Mandaeans settled there,[15] and by c. 700 AD it was completely abandoned.

^ a b Cite error: The named reference Harmansah, 2007 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Beaulieu, 2003 ^ Fassbinder, 2003 ^ Charvát 2002, p.119 ^ Crüsemann, Nicola; Ess, Margarete van; Hilgert, Markus; Salje, Beate; Potts, Timothy (2019). Uruk: First City of the Ancient World. Getty Publications. p. 325. ISBN 978-1-60606-444-3. ^ Charvát, 2002 p.122 ^ Charvát, 2002 p.126 ^ Nissen, Hans J. (2015). "Urbanization and the techniques of communication: the Mesopotamian city of Uruk during the fourth millennium BCE". In Yoffee, Norman (ed.). Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE–1200 CE. The Cambridge World History. Vol. 3. Cambridge University Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-521-19008-4. ^ Cite error: The named reference Lenzen1960 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Tablet MSVO 3,12 /BM 140855 : description on CDLI". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. ^ a b Baker, 2009 ^ R. van der Spek "The Latest on Seleucid Empire Building in the East". Journal of the American Oriental Society 138.2 (2018): 385–394. ^ a b R. van der Spek. "Feeding Hellenistic Seleucia on the Tigris". In R. Alston & O. van Nijf, eds. Feeding the Ancient Greek City 36. Leuven ; Dudley, Massachusetts: Peeters Publishers, 2008. ^ C. A. Petrie, "Seleucid Uruk: An Analysis of Ceramic Distribution", Iraq, vol. 64, 2002, pp. 85–123, 2002 ^ According to some finds of Mandaic incantation bowls. Rudolf Macuch, "Gefäßinschriften". İn Eva Strommenger (ed.), Gefässe aus Uruk von der Neubabylonischen Zeit bis zu den Sasaniden (= Ausgrabungen der deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uruk-Warka 7) (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1967), pp. 55–57, pl. 57.1–3.
Photographies by:
tobeytravels - CC BY-SA 2.0
tobeytravels - CC BY-SA 2.0
Zones
Statistics: Position
398
Statistics: Rank
204121

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
Security
978246513Click/tap this sequence: 2241
Esta pregunta es para comprobar si usted es un visitante humano y prevenir envíos de spam automatizado.

Google street view

Videos

Where can you sleep near Uruk ?

Booking.com
521.115 visits in total, 9.230 Points of interest, 405 Destinations, 2.216 visits today.