Sumerian architecture

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Sumerian architecture. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia were creating sophisticated works of architecture in the fourth millennium BC, almost wholly constructed of brick, and used arches, domes, and vaults. The huge Eanna temple precinct at Uruk (Erech in the Old Testament), the greatest of the Sumerian cities, had two groups of temples connected by a mighty portico of huge circular columns of brick facing a court the walls of which were embellished with engaged columns. Interior wall-faces were decorated with a geometrical pattern of small terracotta cones of different colours. Other features of buildings were the buttress-like projections used to articulate walls, a type of wall-treatment that was to extend well into the last centuries BC. By the mid-third millennium BC painted and relief ornamental schemes were in widespread use, as in the elevated shrine of Al 'Ubaid, where friezes, free-standing columns covered in mosaics, copper sculptures, and other enrichment occurred in profusion. The huge ziggurat at Ur (C22 BC) had enormous battered walls, monumental flights of stairs, and a temple on the summit of the platform. The basic principles of Sumerian architecture were absorbed by their successors, the Assyrians from Northern Mesopotamia, around 2000 BC.


Cruickshank (ed.) (1996);
L&M (1986);
Jane Turner (1996)