the Bridgeman Library

FOUNDATION OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. Some Babylonian temples—like the Esagil of Marduk—were built at ground level, but others were placed on top of stepped platforms, or ziggurats. When Nebuchadnezzar came to power, he continued his father’s work to restore the ziggurat at Babylon called Etemenanki, which is sometimes believed to be the Biblical tower of Babel. The platform he built stood at a towering height of 295 feet, but very little remains of it today.

The earliest known ziggurat is located in Ur and dates to the neo-Sumerian period (2112–2000 B.C.E.). It was originally a three-tiered platform (only the first and parts of the second stages remain) that rose to approximately 100 feet.