Hearth Heart

Sorry for slacking on the landform of the week posts. I’ve been busy celebrating national Earth Science Week—and taking midterms. Just now I’m studying for an urban geography exam, but I had to take a study break to share this.

Ur is one of the oldest cities in the world. From 2300 to 2180 BC it was the capital city of the Sumerian Empire and at its largest had a population of 35,000 enclosed within the city walls, with as many as 250,000 including those who lived outside the walls. The Euphrates flowed just to the west, meaning that Ur is in the Mesopotamian hearth, the birthplace of agriculture and urbanization. Here’s a map from my textbook, Urban Geography by Michael Pacione (Routledge, 2009):

That compound in the center is the temenos, or religious precinct, and the building that’s black is still standing. You can see it on Google Maps. The path from X to X is a processional path which likely connected to the temenos, and point D indicates a densely built residential area. Points A and B indicate harbors which, from my understanding, were connected to the river by canals—or, as I like to call them, veins and arteries. Maybe you’ve had the same thought I had when I saw this map; Ur is shaped almost exactly like a human heart. Check it:

Isn’t that awesome?? I overlayed a picture of a heart model that I found on Wiki Commons and erased the background on the photo, but otherwise, I did not transform the picture at all other than resizing it, maintaining scale.

What do you think? Did the Sumerians know what they were doing or is it a coincidence?

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