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004. Aqar Quf (ancient: Dur Kurigalzu)

Al-Anbar Governorate. Approximately 30 kilometers west of Baghdad, mid-way between Baghdad and Falluja

Dates: Built circa 1400 BC; largely abandoned
           after the fall of the Kassite dynasty in 1170;
           briefly re-inhabited during Neo-Babylonian period (626-539 BC).

Built by King Kurigalzu, the self-effacing ruler of the Kassite Dynasty, Dur Kurigalzu (“Fortress of Kuriglalzu”) became the seat of power over Mesopotamia (the Sumer and Akad civilizations) for more than 400 years, a record interval, and extended its rule from Mesopotamia to the Caucasus region as far north as the Caspian Sea. As their dominance gradually eroded, the Kassites retreated to Luristan (present-day western Iran) and never returned as a significant force in the region.

At its peak, Dur Kurigalzu covered approximately 225 hectares, with a fortified wall.

An unusually well preserved ziggurat, dedicated to the god Enlil (foundations, 69 by 67.6 meters) was burned when the Elamites destroyed the city.  Today, the mud-brick core still stands to a height of 57 meters, with the impressions of the reed mats that were laid between the layers of bricks still visible. The ziggurat is the most prominent feature visible on the flat plain west of Baghdad, between the capital and Fallujah. The lowest terrace of the ziggurat was excavated by the Directorate-General of Antiquities in 1943-45 and was "restored" to its first level by the Saddam Hussein government during the 1970s. Some painted murals from the royal palace at the site have also been recovered, along with statuary and small ornaments, including a realistic terracotta hyena and painted head of a man.

  33° 21′ 13″
  33.353611° N
  44° 12′ 8″
  44.202222° E

See the GoogleEarth satellite
view of Aqar Quf

See the Global Heritage Fund description of Aqar Quf