Although they are two very different cities from ancient Mesopotamia; Chaldean and Asirian architecture have stayed very similar throughout centuries. Ziggurats are one of the most impressive kind of structures ever made by the Chaldeans and other cities. Ziggurats contain a few layers of mud platforms that rise up, and become smaller until they get to the temple on the top. One of the reasons why the Ziggurats were so tall and why the temple was on top - instead of another building - was because the king and other peple went to pray there, and they felt closer to the gods when they were up higher. Stairs would run up from one layer to the next. They look quite like pyramids, except the platforms are not usually centered on the one below; they are located to the back of the layer below so that the stairs do not have to go at such a steep angle. Columns in the Ziggurats, as well as statues, would have been made of marble, because The Ziggurats were located in the middle of the cities. Throughout the cities there were lots of mud brick houses. Some houses were one story, and others were two stories. The houses that were closer to the Ziggurats were usually the two story ones, because it was thought of as more of an honour to live near the temple. These houses would be owned by the richer people; like the preists or other people who are high in the importance standings. The one story houses would be owned by the poorer people. These would include the people who worked in the farms, or who weaved simple clothing, made beads or sold items in a small village square. Village squares could be located anywhere in the cities, but they mostly would have been around the area of the Ziggurats, because that's where the shops and important things would be. Right in the middle of the squares would be a marble statue or fountain. The Statues would probably be of a king, a god, or a soldier figure; maybe in memory of soldiers, or to give them luck and support in battle.
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external image 298a.jpg This is an ancient Chaldean tower found about 365 km south of Ur. Standing about 20 feet off the ground, it is one of the best preserved
structures in Iraq; and is also one of the most famous historical monuments in the world.
Chaldean architecture has changed very little over the centuries. Dominant and improtant features included rows of columns, and colourful designs on the interior. The Chaldeans preferred clean, slightly rounded lines and shapes. They also loved to build on a massive scale; their houses had big spacious rooms and tall arched hallways. Their roads and town areas were paved with such skill that some of them are still used to this very day. The Chaldeans liked to build with large, square-cut slabs of white rock. Structures such as Ziggurats and Temples would have been build of nice, traded rock and marble. Houses were usually made of locally found rock, while statues and monuments were made of marble; to the Chaldeans, this was the noblest of materials to use, and that is why they only used it for important structures. Marble was never used to build whole buildings. If a building was very important, then parts would be made of marble such as columns or interior monuments. In the begining of Chaldea, most buildings would have been made out of hard dried mud bricks. Even though mud could wash away with water, the climate was very dry and hot, which kept the mud solid and unharmed. This climate was also ideal for the making of these mud bricks, because before the use of oven type things, the mud would have dried in the sun. The Chaldeans soon began using rock, which was a lot stronger and more durable of an object. As extra decoration, Chaldeans would carve intricut designs into the bricks. This was used to decorate many Ziggurats and Temples.
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