Shostal Associates, New York, NY

The Ziggurat, a stepped structure, characteristic of temple architecture in Mesopotamia, may be the image that has come to us in the Bible as the tower of Babel. One of the best-preserved examples, now partially restored, is the ziggurat at Ur, whose stairway is shown here. Built during the reign of Ur-Nammu (c. 2111–2094 B.C.), the structure was composed of a mud-brick core covered by a fired brick shell. A shrine to the moon-god Nanna stood on top. Originally rising about 70 feet above the plain, the ziggurat today stands only about 50 feet high.