The biggest Sumerian and Mesopotamian structures were ziggurats. Ziggurats were massive “stepped” pyramids made from mud bricks, and were typically topped with temples. They first appeared around 3500 B.C. During this time every major Mesopotamian city had at least one.
Typical Ziggurat structure
Ziggurat of Ur
The ancient Sumerians believed that powerful gods lived in the sky. Ziggurats served as temples.
Ruins of Ancient Babylon
Formal religious ceremonies were held at the very top. Throughout the year, people would leave offerings of food and wine on the steps of the ziggurats. The priests’ jobs were to consume these gifts, because the gods could not eat for themselves. Ziggurats were built in the middle of each town. Usually the Ziggurat courtyards were filled with cheerfulness, were full of activity, and were the center of everyday life.