Ziggurats were temples.
Like many ancient people, the ancient Sumerians
believed that powerful
gods lived in the sky. They built huge structures, called ziggurats,
with steps climbing up to the top.
From the top of the Ziggurat, you could see the
protective wall built about the entire town, and over the wall to the
Formal religious ceremonies were held at the very
But all year long, people left offerings of food
and wine on the steps of the ziggurats. One of the jobs of the priests
was to enjoy these offerings, because as everyone knew, the gods could
not eat for themselves.
A Ziggurat was built in the center of each town. It
was the center of daily life. Except for festivals, which, for the most
part, were gloomy things, the Ziggurat courtyard was filled with joyous
and busy life. You might see an artist painting, a boy racing by on his
way to school, someone milking a cow or making a basket.
the Ziggurat of Ur
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