Settlements > Ur



The history of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur is very interesting and important in understanding the larger history of the culture. It was first founded around 4000 BC and became one of the largest and most influential of all the Sumerian city-states along with Uruk, Lagash, and Kish.

The story of Ur is one of slow decline and a protracted death. At its height, the city was a vibrant trade port, a place of learning and scholarship all watched over by a gigantic ziggurat, towering into the heavens. Ships from as far away as India docked at its port. Biblical Abraham was said to have been born there. It was one of the regional giants for over 2,000 years. And then, around 450BC, it simply vanished.

Rather than invasion, Ur had fallen victim to the shifting nature of the Euphrates River. Perched right on the water’s edge at its foundation in the 4th millennium BC, by the time it vanished, Ur was lost several miles inland. Without the port to keep the economy alive, the inhabitants moved out and Ur was left to the mercy of the sands. Completely lost for two and a half millennium, it was only properly rediscovered after World War One.

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