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Ziggurat

ZIGGURAT (zĭg'ū-răt, Assyr.-Bab. ziqquratu, from the verb zaqaru, meaning to be high or raised up; hence the top of a mountain, or a staged tower). A temple tower of the Babylonians, consisting of a lofty structure in the form of a pyramid, built in successive stages, with staircases on the outside and a shrine at the top. These structures are the most characteristic feature of the temple architecture in Mesopotamia, and the locations of more than two dozen are known today. The oldest one known is at Uruk. It measures 140 by 150 feet (44 by 47 m.) and stands about 30 feet (9 m.) high. At the top was the shrine, 65 feet (20 m.) long, 50 feet (16 m.) wide, and built about a narrow court. It is made of packed clay strengthened with layers of asphalt and unbaked bricks. The ziggurat at Ur was 200 feet (63 m.) long, 150 feet (47 m.) wide, and some 70 feet (22 m.) high. The inside was made of unbaked brick; the outside consisted of about 8 feet (2.5 m.) of baked brick set in bitumen. The