Architecture Mesopotamia Ancient

Contrary to popular belief, Mesopotamia architecture was not created during the reign of a single emperor. There were people from diverse lands, and Mesopotamia, which nestled between the rivers, Tigris and the Euphrates, was the seat of popular culture.

The architecture was fashioned from 3500 BC to 539 BC by the Sumerians and various other groups who were absorbed into the local population in succeeding centuries.

As the cities flourished, the architecture in Mesopotamia also developed. The main architecture revolved around the numerous temples that were built during the period. The Mesopotamian temples were shaped like a pyramid and had a large base with stairways receding downwards from the top.

Even though the shape of the temples varied according to local traditions, they still maintained a rectangular CELLA which was known as a sacred chamber with an access to what was popularly referred to as the statue of god.

Large temples:

The temples were regarded as the abodes of gods in ancient Mesopotamia. In cities like Lagash and Al ‘Ubaid, the temples took an unusual form and were very large compared to temples in smaller cities that dotted Mesopotamia. In large temples, there was a big oval platform on which the temple stood. There was a second outer oval wall encircling the entire temple complex.

Excavations have also revealed much of the architecture of Mesopotamia that was built during the period. Archaeologists have dug up gigantic looking palaces at Mari and Kish which gave an idea of the growing power of the rulers.

Cities were fortified with large walls to prevent invading armies from coming in easily. Ancient Mesopotamia was characterized by regular warfare and the large city walls unearthed in Urk show how rulers encircled their city states as a preventive measure.

Townships in ancient Mesopotamia existed around the temples. The 1930’s excavation by the Iraq Expedition of the Oriental Institute revealed winding and narrow streets with brick homes clubbed together. All houses had thick walls for insulation and flat roof tops with very large living places. The architecture of Mesopotamia differed according to the economic condition of the home owner.