ASIA minor, Architecture of Sumer and Akkad


For three millennia (from the end of the 4th Millennium BC) in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates (Mesopotamia), as well as in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean sea and the mountainous areas of the Central part of Asia Minor arose the centers of ancient culture – the early slaveholding States: Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Syro-Phoenicia, Assyria, the Hittite States, Urartu, and others.

West Asia can be called a kind of cradle of world civilization. Diverse peoples living in these States, as in contact with the Asian mainland and South East Asia, and Cretan-Mycenaean world.

In the art of southwest Asia have developed the same kinds of art, and in Egypt: monumental architecture, round sculpture, relief, small plastic, jewelry art. But the unique environmental conditions determine whether features of the architecture of Mesopotamia: the erection of buildings on elevated locations, use of less durable material – mud brick, simple cubic volumes, etc., the Underdevelopment of the mortuary cult in Mesopotamia led to the lack of monumental sculpture. However, statues of deities and rulers significant. In the reliefs of Mesopotamia born topics related to victorious wars, acts of rulers. Spreading the glyptic – carved cylinder seals-amulets, covered with fine carvings.

Monuments of art of the peoples of Anterior Asia remained less than in Egypt. Wars, fires, and fragile building materials contributed to their destruction. However, the artistic works created in the Sumerian and Akkadian States, allow to regard them as the Foundation for a culture of Mesopotamia. Here there was a written language, formed types of architecture, relief, round, plastic, glyptic, and more.

The architecture of Sumer and Akkad

During the late 4 – early 3 Millennium BC. e. in these States, one gets a certain architectural tradition.

Ancient Sumerian city-States grouped around the temples. One of them is the White Temple in hand (end of 4th Millennium BC). He was lifted up on high bulk platform and was simply a rectangular sanctuary, United with the earth long side stairs and ramps and had an outdoor patio. In the depths there was a statue of the deity. In the 3rd Millennium, E. p. to have any type of a temple – ziggurat, ziggurat of king Ur-Nammu in Ur. He resembled a mountain; its powerful three terraces leading to a small sanctuary and were joined by three giant ladders, painted in different colors – black, white and red. The temple symbolized the Union of the earthly and heavenly worlds, expressed in the form of an Egyptian pyramid.

From the mid 3rd Millennium BC began to build the palaces of the rulers of Sumer (the so-called “Palace And” in Kish). These palaces were surrounded by walls and overlooked the city; on the top of the Grand staircase, like the deity, appeared before the people a king. The paintings inside the Palace were decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay.


Internal force have huge reliefs of Mesopotamia. A favorite theme of the reliefs, seals-amulets of ancient Sumer – the image of the beast, of domestic animals, scenes of hunting and cattle breeding. Knowledge of the appearance of the beast, passing beauty of his movements distinguish these stories. At the beginning of the 3 Millennium BC there was an image of a person who participates in solemn processions, temple ceremonies, and from the middle of the 3 Millennium BC there are fantastic stories.

And reliefs, and a round plastic glorify the power of the ruler. One of the most significant monuments – triumphal “Stele of the vultures” (about 2500 BC), where was shown the victory of the Governor of the city Lahama – Eannatum over the neighboring city of Umma. On one side of the stele depicts a God Ningarsu, holding a Mace and network with floundering enemies on the other warriors, the incarnation of menacing power.

In the temples were painted clay figurines of deities and nobility, offering prayers. Their distinctive feature were the huge painted or inlaid eyes. Temples were carried out for marble heads of goddesses, for example, the head of the goddess of The hand (beginning of the 3rd century BC. BC), which is characterized by soft modeling of marble and inlaid eyes.

New features acquired the art of Akkad in the second half of the 3rd Millennium BC, a variety of compositional techniques, the rejection of rhythmic monotony and other (stele of king Naram – Swaia, about 2300 years before I. C.).

Reached a high level of artistic craft (jewelry making, manufacture of pottery, jewelry, etc.), characterized by refinement and diversity.

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