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Mesopotamia: Visit The Ziggurat!
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

Have you visited amazing, unforgettable Ur? It’s the religious, cultural, and business hub of Sumer. You just haven’t seen all that the “Land Between Two Rivers” has to offer if you haven’t visited this city.

If you visited Ur around 2029 BC, you might have noticed a lot of construction going on. King Ur-Nammu, who now walks with the gods in the afterlife, had started building a great ziggurat. Only thirty years later, the Great Ziggurat of Ur is now finished!

What’s a ziggurat? Only the most impressive building in all of Mesopotamia! It is a step pyramid: a pyramid with flat levels built into it. Unlike the pyramids of Egypt, the ziggurat has stairs and platforms. You can actually walk up the huge stone stairs of the ziggurat. You can stop and stand on the platforms along the way.

On second thought, you’d better not try to walk up the Great Ziggurat. That’s a privilege reserved for the highest priests in Sumer. That’s because the Great Ziggurat is the dwelling of our people’s gods. We Sumerians believe that the gods live in the ziggurat. We give the gods a place to live inside Ur. In turn, they protect the city.

“Ziggurat” means “mountain of the gods.” The Great Ziggurat of Ur definitely lives up to its name. It is the biggest building in Sumer. If you come from the farms outside the city, the biggest building you have ever seen may be only 10 or 15 feet tall. The Ziggurat of Ur stands over 90 feet tall. It stretches 210 feet in length! It is an inspiration to see.

We thank King Shulgi, son of King Ur-Nammu, for finishing the ziggurat. He has dedicated the ziggurat to the god of our city, Nanna. Nanna is the father of the gods. So it makes sense that he should live in Ur, the father of all Sumerian cities. Now that the Great Ziggurat is finished, Nanna’s blessings will flow upon Ur. We will experience a time of peace and prosperity.

Are you planning to visit the Great Ziggurat? Then be sure to bring an offering to Nanna. You can leave it at the bottom of the ziggurat. If Nanna has blessed you with a good harvest, you should offer some of the extra food you have grown. So don’t hesitate! Start planning your trip to the amazing Great Ziggurat today!

step pyramid: a pyramid-shaped structure with flat platforms or steps
ziggurat: a type of step pyramid built by the Mesopotamians and used as a sacred religious site
hub: a center of an activity or a region
dwelling: home
offering: a gift, especially one given to a god or an important person

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