Sites & cities that bear the name of Uruk


Today in : Iraq
First trace of activity : ca. 5,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 7th century C.E
Recorded names : Kullaba, Kulab, Unug-Kulaba, 𒀕𒆠, unugki, 𒌷𒀕, 𒌷𒀔, Unug, אֶרֶךְ, ʼÉreḵ, Ὀρχόη. Orkhoē, Ὀρέχ, Orekh, Ὠρύγεια, Ōrugeia, وركاء‎, Warkāʼ, أوروك‎, Auruk, Orcha, Erech, Ourouk, Erekh

Description : Uruk (/ˈʊrʊk/; Sumerian: Cuneiform: 𒀕𒆠, unugki, Akkadian: 𒌷𒀕 or 𒌷𒀔 Uruk (URUUNUG); Arabic: وركاء or أوروك‎, Warkāʼ or Auruk; Syriac: ܐܘܿܪܘܿܟ,‘Úrūk; Hebrew: אֶרֶךְ‎ ʼÉreḵ; Ancient Greek: Ὀρχόη, romanized: Orkhóē, Ὀρέχ Orékh, Ὠρύγεια Ōrúgeia) was an ancient city of Sumer (and later of Babylonia) situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates River on the dried-up ancient channel of the Euphrates 30 km (19 mi) east of modern Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq. Uruk is the type site for the Uruk period. Uruk played a leading role in the early urbanization of Sumer in the mid-4th millennium BC. By the final phase of the Uruk period around 3100 BCE, the city may have had 40,000 residents, with 80,000-90,000 people living in its environs, making it the largest urban area in the world at the time. The legendary king Gilgamesh, according to the chronology presented in the Sumerian King List (henceforth SKL), ruled Uruk in the 27th century BC. The city lost its prime importance around 2000 BC in the context of the struggle of Babylonia against Elam, but it remained inhabited throughout the Seleucid (312–63 BC) and Parthian (227 BC to 224 AD) periods until it was finally abandoned shortly before or after the Islamic conquest of 633–638. According to the SKL, Uruk was founded by the king Enmerkar. Though the king-list mentions a king of Eanna before him, the epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta relates that Enmerkar constructed the House of Heaven (Sumerian: e2-anna; Cuneiform: 𒂍𒀭 E2.AN) for the goddess Inanna in the Eanna District of Uruk. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh builds the city wall around Uruk and is king of the city. Uruk went through several phases of growth, from the Early Uruk period (4000–3500 BC) to the Late Uruk period (3500–3100 BC). The city was formed when two smaller Ubaid settlements merged. The temple complexes at their cores became the Eanna District and the Anu District dedicated to Inanna and Anu, respectively. The Anu District was originally called 'Kullaba' (Kulab or Unug-Kulaba) prior to merging with the Eanna District. Kullaba dates to the Eridu period when it was one of the oldest and most important cities of Sumer. There are different interpretations about the purposes of the temples. However, it is generally believed they were a unifying feature of the city. It also seems clear that temples served both an important religious function and state function. The surviving temple archive of the Neo-Babylonian period documents the social function of the temple as a redistribution center. The Eanna District was composed of several buildings with spaces for workshops, and it was walled off from the city. By contrast, the Anu District was built on a terrace with a temple at the top. It is clear Eanna was dedicated to Inanna from the earliest Uruk period throughout the history of the city. The rest of the city was composed of typical courtyard houses, grouped by profession of the occupants, in districts around Eanna and Anu. Uruk was extremely well penetrated by a canal system that has been described as, "Venice in the desert." This canal system flowed throughout the city connecting it with the maritime trade on the ancient Euphrates River as well as the surrounding agricultural belt. The original city of Uruk was situated southwest of the ancient Euphrates River, now dry. Currently, the site of Warka is northeast of the modern Euphrates river. The change in position was caused by a shift in the Euphrates at some point in history, and may have contributed to the decline of Uruk. Archeologists have discovered multiple cities of Uruk built atop each other in chronological order. - Uruk XVIII Eridu period (c 5000 BC); the founding of Uruk - Uruk XVIII-XVI Late Ubaid period (4800–4200 BC) - Uruk XVI-X Early Uruk period (4000–3800 BC) - Uruk IX-VI Middle Uruk period (3800–3400 BC) - Uruk V-IV Late Uruk period (3400–3100 BC); The earliest monumental temples of Eanna District are built - Uruk III Jemdet Nasr period (3100–2900 BC); The 9 km city wall is built - Uruk II - Uruk I

See on map »