Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Ziggurat of Ur (from Mike)

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve last posted anything, but I guess I’ve been engrossed in work and really haven’t had much to write about. But, last week I took a tour of the Ziggurat of Ur, which is right outside one of our gates. A ziggurat is a temple, and Ur is the ancient town where Abraham and his family lived for a bit. The ziggurat itself is still standing, but most of the city is in ruins, although much of is has been excavated throughout the years. Our tour guide, who is also the site curator, is a third generation archeologist of Ur. He learned to speak English, as well as a few other languages, from reading the dictionary. Pretty impressive! We got to climb to the top of the ziggurat, which afforded us views of the surrounding countryside. A lot of sand and rocks, as you can imagine. Just beyond visual range is the Euphrates River running north-south down to the Arabian Gulf. Apparently in ancient times the Gulf came up to the shores of Ur. Anyway, after the climb up and down, we walked into the city ruins, stopping first at a small building which contains the oldest standing arch in the world. As far as you know. Inside the city we walked down into a couple of tombs, and also checked out some of the earliest forms of hieroglyphic writing on various bricks throughout the city. That didn’t take too long, as much of the city still lays unearthed. We continued our walk through the back gates of the city out to what was once an area of land in between the city’s inner and outer gates, where Abraham’s house was. Actually his father has built it (can’t remember the name, but I’m sure it’s in the bible) and after he died Abraham and Sarah lived there for awhile. The house and surrounding area has been rebuilt, which is cool in a way that you get to see what it was like, but kind of uncool in a way because it sticks out amongst the other ruins. Ah well. It was rebuilt in anticipation of the Pope visit in 1999, which was subsequently cancelled when Saddam couldn’t guarantee the Pope’s safety. After walking through the house, which was actually more like a large compound, we circled back towards the ziggurat, stopping at the palace which had once stood beside it. The square footage was as big if not bigger than the temple, but unfortunately it hasn’t survived intact like the ziggurat.

So that’s Ur and its ziggurat. I imagine one day Western archeologists will flock to the area once the country is stabilized, as they had in the 20s and 30s, but for now excavation will be slow and of course it will go unheard of while the violence continues.

Thanks for the post Mike. I love you!


Kym said...

Hey Colleen,

I know you're busy but I wanted to make sure you got the email I sent you. I hope so.

Hope all is well! Take care and I hope you have a great weekend!


Anonymous said...

Hi Colleen and Mike,Not having much luck with my E mail lately. Everytime it rains or is windy it goes down. I was able to open today and was amazed at the pictures Mike has sent from Irag. Especially the Camel!!
The tour he took of the ruins was spectacular!! How awesome to be able to see that history first hand.
Lots to respond to as it has been so long since I have been able to enter e-mail.
Sounds like a gruesome game of ball you played Mike. Glad the advil was available.
Sounds like Colleen is taping a lot of ND games for you to watch when you get home!!
Speaking of home, Paul and I are looking forward to our trip there in Nov.
I told Colleen, if she wants we can paint the bathroom. But it sounds like she has our days pretty full. Thats ok to!
Grandma is all moved into her assisted living apartment. She is slowly excepting this transition.
She does feel a bit our of her element as not many Catholics there. The apartment is really cute and Chris and Connie have done a nice job of decorating it for her.
Her new phone # is 616-285-6411 and address is 2121 Raybrook SE, Grand Rapids, Mi 49546 Apt 329
I loved the Holloween card by the way. I really enjoy that evening watching all the little ones all dressed up. Actually the big kids also get pretty creative with their costumes as wel.
Curran was a pirate this year. I'm sorry I cant send picutes of him. Not sure how to do that. Colleen, if we have timeduring our trip to SD you will need to TRY to show me how to do that. No guarantees I will remember when we get home though!
Dad and I will be closing up the cottage this week-end. I always feel so sad doing that. Can hardly wait until spring to open back up.
Pat and Theresa have done so much to their cottage. When you get home this summer you will be amazed.
Well thats it for now. Say hello to Mikes Mom and Dad for us and only a couple weeks and we will be there to see you all
Love, Mom