What Is a Ziggurat World History?

Have you ever heard of a ziggurat in world history? If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

A ziggurat is a type of ancient Mesopotamian temple tower that was built in the form of a stepped pyramid. These structures were an important part of the religious and cultural practices of the people who lived in Mesopotamia during the third millennium BCE.

What is Mesopotamia?

Before we dive into what a ziggurat is, let’s take a moment to understand where they came from. Mesopotamia was an ancient region located in modern-day Iraq and Kuwait. It was home to several civilizations, including the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians.

Mesopotamia was known for its fertile land and abundant water supply from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This allowed for the development of agriculture and complex societies. The civilization that emerged in this region made significant contributions to human history, including the invention of writing and the wheel.

What is a Ziggurat?

Now that we have a better understanding of Mesopotamia let’s talk about ziggurats. A ziggurat was essentially a massive stepped pyramid made out of mud bricks. The structure typically had two or three levels with each level being smaller than the one below it.

Atop the ziggurat sat a shrine or temple dedicated to one or more gods. The structure served as both a religious center and administrative hub for cities in ancient Mesopotamia.

The Purpose of Ziggurats

Ziggurats were built for religious purposes as they were considered to be sacred structures that connected heaven and earth. They were believed to be places where humans could communicate with their gods.

The priests who oversaw these temples would perform rituals to ensure good harvests, successful battles, and protection from natural disasters. Ziggurats were also used to store goods and resources, making them an important economic center.

The Design of Ziggurats

The construction of a ziggurat required significant resources and manpower. The base of the structure was often rectangular or square in shape, with each level being smaller than the one below it.

The walls were made out of mud bricks that were baked in the sun to harden them. The bricks were then coated with bitumen, a type of tar-like substance, to make them more durable.


In conclusion, ziggurats were an important part of ancient Mesopotamian culture. They served as religious centers, economic hubs, and administrative buildings. These structures are an impressive feat of engineering and design that showcase the ingenuity of early human civilizations.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit modern-day Iraq or Kuwait, be sure to check out some of these incredible structures for yourself!