ziggurat

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Related to Ziggarat: Tower of Babel

ziggurat

(zĭg`o͝orăt), form of temple common to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians. The earliest examples date from the end of the 3d millenium B.C., the latest from the 6th cent. B.C. The ziggurat was a pyramidal structure, built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform, with a shrine at the summit. The core of the ziggurat was of sun-baked bricks, and the facings were of fired bricks, often glazed in different colors, which are thought to have had cosmological significance. Access to the summit shrine was provided by a series of ramps on one side or by a continuous spiral ramp from base to summit. The number of tiers ranged from two to seven. Notable examples are the ruins at Ur and Khorsabad in Mesopotamia. Similar structures were built by the Mayan people of Central America.
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Ziggurat

A Mesopotamian temple having the form of a terraced pyramid rising in three to seven successively receding stages in height; built of mud brick, featuring an outside staircase and a shrine at the top.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ziggurat

 

(Akkadian), a cultic structure in ancient Mesopotamia. It was a sun-dried brick tower formed from stepped parallelepipeds or truncated pyramids (from three to seven); these contained no internal chambers except for the uppermost, which contained a shrine. The ziggurat’s terraces, which were painted in different colors (mainly black, red, and white), were connected by stairways or ramps. The walls were divided by rectangular recesses. A temple was usually located next to the ziggurat. Ziggurats have been preserved in Iraq (in the ancient cities of Borsippa, Babylon, and Dur-Sharrukin; all dating from the first millennium B.C.) and Iran (at the site of Choga Zambil, second millennium B.C.).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

ziggurat

A Mesopotamian temple tower; from the end of the 3rd millennium B.C. on, ziggurats rose in three to seven stages, diminishing in area and often in height square (Sumer) or rectangular (Assyria), built of mud brick and faced with baked brick laid in bitumen.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

ziggurat

, zikkurat, zikurat
a type of rectangular temple tower or tiered mound erected by the Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians in Mesopotamia. The tower of Babel is thought to be one of these
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005