The Mesopotamian Empire was famous for its advanced cities. In fact, it was in Mesopotamia that many of the world’s first cities were built!
Uruk was one of the first major cities of the world, and the first capital of Mesopotamia. It reached its largest in the year 2900 BC, when its population was nearly 80,000. At the time, Uruk was the largest city in the world.
Uruk was located in southern Mesopotamia, along the banks of the River Euphrates, and was the center of Sumer civilization. Uruk was able to grow to the size it did because of how advanced its farming and irrigation techniques were. The abundance of food in Uruk made the city rich.
One of the Mesopotamian Empire’s most famous rulers was a King of Uruk – Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is regarded nowadays as a legendary hero due to the stories told about him in the ancient story, the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The city of Akkad was the center of Mesopotamia’s first empire, the Akkadian Empire. The people of Akkad conquered many of the Sumerian city-states and took control of Mesopotamia. Their ruler was named Sargon the Great. The Akkadian language replaced the Sumerian language a few years after the Empire was established.
Historians don’t have a lot of information about the city of Akkad, and are unsure about where it was! However, based on environmental factors, it seems likely that it was located in southern Mesopotamia to take advantage of the fertile soil there.
After the fall of the Akkadian Empire, the Assyrians came into power. Assur was the capital of the Assyrian empire. It was named after the primary god of the Assyrians; though, sometimes, it was written as Ashur instead of Assur. Over time, other cities (i.e, Kaihu and Nineveh) took over as the capital of the Assyrian Empire. However, Assur/Ashur was always recognized as the religious capital of the empire.
Babylon was the capital city of the Babylonian Empire. At its peak, Babylon became known as the greatest city in the world. Its population exceeded 200,000 people. One of the world’s fabled Seven Wonders, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, was located there. Some famous kings of Babylon included Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar.
Babylon was located in central Mesopotamia, along the banks of the River Euphrates. Today, the ruins of Babylon can be found south of Baghdad, Iraq. Babylon was a martial city, and the Babylonian Empire was known for its aggressive foreign policy. Many countries were conquered by Babylon during the empire’s peak.
Nimrud became the capital city of the Assyrian Empire around 1400 BC. Although the city fell into ruins due to a military conflict, the Assyrian King, Ashurnasirpal II, rebuilt the city and reinstated it as capital in 880 BC. Nimrud was famed for its beautiful architecture, and the palace of the Assyrian King there covered over 12 acres.
Despite not being the religious capital of the Assyrian Empire, its greatest city was undoubtedly the city of Nineveh. At one stage, Nineveh was the largest city in the world. The city was built mostly around 700 BC, and the walls of Nineveh enclosed an area of 7 square kilometers. It had 18 canals that transported water around the city, and 15 gates of entry. The final king of the Assyrian Empire, King Ashurbanipal, lived there.
Under the supervision of King Ashurbanipal, a great library was built in Nineveh. The library of Nineveh had over 20,000 clay tablets, which is what Mesopotamian scribes used to write on. Most of what we know about Mesopotamia comes from these tablets!
– 2900 BC.
– Akkadian Empire.
– Religious capital.
– Its beautiful architecture.
– King Ashurbanipal.