The Sumerian city that was a technological, architectural and cultural powerhouse

It’s no secret that ancient sumerian cities They were of great importance, in fact, their stories are among the most famous. Scientists are currently conducting excavations in these extraordinary cities and what they have discovered is truly astounding.

Uruk, an ancient Sumerian city

5000 years ago a man named Gilgamesh ruled Uruk, from there was born the legend that we know as the Epic of Gilgamesh. In the poem, this character is the protagonist of the first story, but we also know other interesting details about his reign.

According to archaeological findings, Uruk was a very strong city which was formed thousands of years before Christ. The legend mentions that the king was in charge of building great walls which served as a fortress to protect the inhabitants.

But is it just a legend? It seems that in all fantasy history there is some reality. Well, a team of diggers during some surveys in Uruk, they unearthed the remains of a great wall. On the other hand, they also found devastated areas of the city.

Where is this ancient city located?

Location of cities in ancient Mesopotamia. Uruk is to the south.

It is important to note that Uruk was one of the most important cities of Mesopotamia, what we now call Iraq. It is located south of Baghdad, about 241 kilometers, previously it was located on a canal that led to the Euphrates.

However, this part of the river dried up and took a different course, diverted 19 kilometers. The city was also known by other names, in Hebrew/Aramaic it was called “Erech”, in Arabic it was called Tell al–Warka.

General view of the Uruk archaeological site in Warka, Iraq.

In what year exactly was Uruk created?

So far we believe this town was created during the Ubaid period, that is to say approximately in the fourth millennium BC. However, its history extends to the sixth millennium BC, even some stories are told before this date.

Uruk’s best moment happened in the years 3800 to 3200, in this period, he became the main force. During these years it also officially became a state, it was one of the first in Mesopotamia and one of the most important.

The Uruk period and its value in history

The first features of this period were the construction of various cities around Mesopotamia, in previous years several small towns were formed to the south. Evidence of urbanization has been discovered in this location, in fact, we now know it was an advanced city in monumental architecture.

Recurrent excavations in Mesopotamia, what did they find?

The wall of Uruk was not the only amazing construction found during the excavations, They also discovered administrative buildings and great temples. The beginning of these investigations were carried out by a group of Germans.

This study was of great importance because we were able to learn a little more about the history of this city. We now know some details, like when it was the most important time and the ascension that took place 4,000 years before Christ.

First proof of writing

Cylindrical seal and impression from the Uruk period, dated to 3100 BC. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Furthermore, evidence has also been found that Uruk was one of the first places where writing developed. He was embodied in small clay tablets, they used the pictograph method. These are kinds of signs that can represent a concept, a figure or just a word.

luxury items

One of the most surprising discoveries was luxury itemsOf course, archaeologists realized that were imported items. This means that trade between locals and tourists from different parts of the world was already established in Uruk.

A business city

Illustrative image of the ancient city of Uruk.

During other excavations that took place in Susa, a city near Uruk, ceramic seals and other small symbolic artifacts were found. It was concluded that used for the administration of their affairs.

You might also be interested in: The marvelous city built 14 thousand years ago by a lost civilization.

It is very possible that these types of methods were brought there by the people of the famous city of Uruk. There is evidence that this city was very influential, even other regions adopted some of its customs. But that didn’t stop the city was abandoned around the 2nd century.

Mythical stories of ancient gods

Uruk is full of intriguing facts relating to giants, strange beasts and amazing “flying vessels” which have been amply depicted on the cuneiform tablets found in Nineveh.

Gilgamesh UrukGilgamesh and Lamassu. Credit: Ninara/Flickr.

One of the most surprising stories is that of Gilgamesh, believed to be the first human epic, even before the Old Testament, where there is clearly a similarity in the creation story, with only the change named Gilgamesh to noah.

Gilgamesh was a being of mysterious origin who ruled Uruk for 126 years 5,000 years ago, described through historical records as actually existing.

He was considered “the man (entity or being) by whom all things were known (unlimited knowledge)” by the Sumerians, who said he was a hybrid between gods from heaven and humans. The texts mention that he had no faults; since the gods created him, they used two-thirds god and one-third human, creating a perfect being.

Likewise, the texts relate that Gilgamesh magnificently built and remodeled this great city to honor stillthe father of the gods, and his daughter, Inanna, the goddess of love and war. He also irrigated fields, dug wells and planted orchards. Moreover, as we mentioned earlier, one of his greatest achievements was the construction of the City walls of Uruk to defend his people against their enemies.

Temple of Ishtar/Inana.

Uruk, with its stories of ancient gods and incredible advancement is a clear example of some parts of human history that make us wonder if there really was an influence on our origin that we don’t yet know about.

References: History of the world / Ancient origins / Hidden code.

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