Mesopatamia

I would like to share my thoughts about the part of the book I read: World Architecture by R. Ingersoll and S. Kostof

Written language and needs of religious and political goals are the major reasons of development of architectural traditions. First urban monements were found in Mesopotamia in 5th millennium BCE show the importance of the beliefs of the society. Their strong beliefs influenced their choice of their city names. They named their cities after their God’s name. If we analys the population of that specific time, the data show similarity with today. By 3000BCE, 80% of the population was urban dwellers. And locals were coping with floods and drought as we do too today. By that time, clay was the most used material for both documenting and building.

In Bronze Age city-state of Mesopotamia, every city contained centralised powerful temples and cities were surrounded with two layers of wall. There were also shrines such as the Enki Temple at Eridu, built for political needs and used for organising canals, seed, implements of cultivation. Reproducible architecture system was first seen in ancient Jericho and is still used in Mesopotamia and permanent mounds in Mesopotamian cities were the result of this system. The form of Uruk’s White Temple is a good example for that rise. In time, workers produced more temples to response to religious needs. Gilgamesh is a good proof of these new temples and the orniments on their walls. I somehow got used to the idea of putting very heavy rocks on top each other; but what I read about the ceramics on the mud walls?! Imagine working with pieces smaller than size of your thumb!

Gudea’s sculptures are strong evidence of the invention of the written language and, more important, architectural graphic conventions. Sargon, who made major and important changes in politics of Mesopotamia, founded a new capital city at Akkad. What he has done is amazing, because he started building a new city there (rather then building on top each other) and this helped to get ride of confusion in politics and religion. This transition in Sumerians was the start of the royal palace. When King Ur-Nammu was powering, the city Ur reached its maximum development. Besides the improvement in architectural heritage, he also published the first code of law. Because streets of the city is very narrow,questions arrived about the invention of the wheel by Sumerians. Having no windows must have brought some issues, because I just cannot imagine myself living in a house with only one opening: door, which doesn’t let sun light in. The Harappans were the first society with no built monument. Their big difference from Sumerians and from Old Kingdom Egyptions, is that they focused more on structural issues rather than religion. Their main problem was solving structural issues: floods and drought. After what I read, I was like; if till that time people were struggling with floods, why didn’t they try harder to do better? Also, I think, because they had different approach, they didn’t have big improvement in writing, documenting daily and ritual activities.

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