Ahwar of Southern Iraq

Ahwar of Southern Iraq

The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: refuge of biodiversity and the relict landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities covers the marshy delta that was home to the early Sumerian civilization.

This mixed site consists of 7 locations: three archaeological sites (Ur, Uruk and Tell Eridu) and four wetland marsh areas. The latter are the Huwaizah Marshes, Central Marshes, East Hammar and West Hammar Marshes - important for bird migration and fish species.

The area lies in the joint delta of the Tigris and Euphrates River, the river providing arable fields via the use of irrigation. Due to draining of large portions of the marshes, the marshes were diminshed to 10% of their original size by 2003.

Map of Ahwar of Southern Iraq

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Thomas Buechler

Switzerland - 06-Dec-18 -

Ahwar of Southern Iraq by Thomas Buechler

Ur was once an important Sumerian city state near the mouth of the Euphrates river, at the coast with marshy surroundings and regular floods and adverse weather impacts like erosions.Ur was already occupied as early as 6500 BC during the Urbaid period, but had its peak during the Sumerian period about 3000 BC. Buildings were made out of mudbricks and mud plaster. The main temple, Ziggurat of Ur, was built during king Ur-Nammu reign about 2040 BC. His codes of law (Hammurabi) is the oldest existing deciphered law writing in the world, the original at the Louvre museum, but replicas in many places including the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. On the basalt stele are 282 laws including the famous “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” rules. Ur is also mentioned four times in the Old Testament and in the Book of Genesis as the birthplace of Abraham 2000 BC.The site was first excavated 1853 by the British Museum and the British Vice Consul in Basra who also uncovered the Ziggurat (main temple dedicated to the Moon god Nanna)It was later on reconstructed, including its monumental staircase. However, the third level has collapsed, and its present height is 17 meters from the original of 26. Ur is surrounded by 2 ramparts constructed during Sumerian and Babylonian times. The closest city with infrastructure is Nasariyah, it has decent hotels and restaurants and at present no security problems. We have also visited Uruk where we could talk to German archaeologists at work to stabilize the temples, under the management of the DAI, the German Archaelogical Institute and Margarete van Ess who played a vital role in the conservation of archaeological sites of Babylon, especially Uruk und Ur.

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The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: refuge of biodiversity and the relict landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities
Unesco ID
3 5 9 10
Archaeological site - Near Eastern Natural landscape - Rivers and Lakes

The site has 7 locations

Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Tell Eridu Archaeological Site
Ahwar of Southern Iraq: The Central Marshes
Ahwar of Southern Iraq: The East Hammar Marshes
Ahwar of Southern Iraq: The Iraqi side of Huwaizah Marshes
Ahwar of Southern Iraq: The West Hammar Marshes
Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Ur Archaeological City
Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Uruk Archaeological City

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