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Ur is introduced in the Brave New World expansion pack.
Musical Theme: Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal
Architecture: Middle Eastern
Originally a coastal city on the mouth of the Euphrates at the north end of the Persian Gulf, the ruins of Ur now lie inland about 150 miles, six miles from the right bank of the river. Mentioned in Genesis as the birthplace of the Jewish patriarch Abraham, "Ur of the Chaldees" was founded c. 5500 BC in the Ubiad period of Sumer. Controlling trade between the villages along the Euphrates and Tigris and the sea, Ur was favorably located for development into a commercial and political center. Founder of the first dynasty of Ur, Mesanepada oversaw the construction of docks and levees to control the annual river floods. By 2800 BC it had become one of the first Sumerian city-states, and trade routes between Mesopotamia and India, Ethiopia and Egypt passed through it.
After a period of decline and stagnation, under Ur-Nammu Ur experienced a renaissance of Sumerian art, literature and culture. Historians' estimates make Ur the largest city in the world from 2030 through 1980 BC, with a population in excess of 65,000. But under the last three kings of the third dynasty Ur's influence and wealth declined; around 1940 BC the city was captured and sacked by the Elamites.
Rebuilt shortly thereafter, Ur became part of the kingdom of Isin, later incorporated into the Babylonian Empire. Still an important religious center, its commercial influence declined, possibly as a result of a shift in the course of the Euphrates. After Babylon itself came under Persian control, Ur was largely ignored. Its population moved away; its walls and temples fell into ruin; its anchorage was buried in sand and soil. By the 4th century BC, Ur was practically forgotten until rediscovered and partially excavated by the British vice counsel at Basra, John G. Taylor, beginning in 1854 AD.