Gateway to Mesopotamia, Turkey

A place in ancient times and present days – Mesopotamia

(picture map of Mesopotamia)

The name Mesopotamia means “between the rivers”. Its name  refers to the region between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. The rivers having flooded every year. Mesopotamians built canals to distribute water throughout the land. On the irrigated fields were grown  grain, fruit and vegetables.

Ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia were the Sumerians. In the middle of 4th millennium BC the Sumerians formed city-states (Ur, Uruk).  The city-states of the priest-kings ruled. The headquarters of state was the church. From this place they controlled warehousing, distribution and trade. This model is called church economy.

The Sumerian built tower-temples by clay brick, which are related to spirituality (Ziggurat)

The state functions (management, registration, tax collection) necessitated the development of writing, which was the cuneiform. Initially, animals and objects are represented, but later developed a syllabic writing. They taught the writing in schools (edubba – house of tablets). They used clay tablets for write. They portrayed their gods as cruel and unpredictable.

The clay tablets were small. They written with triangle shaped sticks in the soft material then dried it by the Sun.

In the 3rd millenium BC Sarrukin united Mesopotamia’s city-states.  However, the nomadic people, who fled from the drought ruined the state. BC to the 18th century became the main center of Babylon. Kings of  Babylon united again Mesopotamia and established the Babylon Empire.

Mesopotamia in present days

Iraq

Al Kadhemea in Baghdad is the most holy places in the Iraqis religion.

Iraq is often referred to as the cradle of mankind. This land is the home of the three world religions like Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Eight years after the fall of Saddam Hussein‘s foreign archaeologists cautiously begin to return to Iraq to resume the excavations in the southern part of ancient Mesopotamia in the heart. Already during the first Gulf War, these historical monuments and other places of historical importance were put at direct risk by military action as well as by the abuse as Iraqi military positions. Present-day Iraq possesses a lots of historical monuments and archaeological sites, for example Babylon, which was in the 18th century BC the seat of king Hammurabi.

Syria

The Great Mosque of Damascus is the first monumental work of architecture in Islamic history.

Syria’s population is 90% Muslim. Most people live in the Euphrates River valley. Archaeologists have demonstrated that Syria was the center of one of the most ancient civilizations on earth. City of Ebla in northern Syriae was the central of the great Semitic empire. The language of Ebla to be the oldest Semitic language. Syria is significant in the history of Christianity; Paul was converted on the road to Damascus. Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Present days Syria is divided administratively into 14 provinces, one of which is Damascus.

Turkey

Gateway to Mesopotamia, Turkey
Gateway to Mesopotamia, Turkey

In Turkey 99% of the population is Muslim. Most Turkish Muslims follow the Sunni traditions of Islam. Turkey is the birthplace of many great cultures and is a synthesis of east and west.Throughout its  history Turkey has been prominent as a center of commerce because of its land connections to three continents and the sea surrounding it on three sides. Mesopotamia begins in Eastern Turkey. Both the Euphrates and Tigris rivers rise in Anatolia, and both flow through the plains. There are at least 150 archaeological excavations taking place in Turkey each year. The archaeological site of Hacinebi Tepe is located in southeastern Turkey. Mesopotamian artifacts include for example personal ornaments, baked clay sickles or grooved stone weights.

Ilona Kaszanyi

References:

Száray Miklós: Történelem I. (Budapest, 2008. p. 17-21 and 30-35)

A Föld országlexikon (p.169. Iraq; p.235. Syria; p.244. Turkey)

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