ur in the bible

Ur in the Bible | The Ancient City of Ur

Ur was an important city in Mesopotamia, of which only ruins remain today. The ruins site of Ur in the Bible is located 150 kilometers west of Basra in Iraq and is called Tell Mukajir. Here you can see the temple tower and the great Nanna. It was the Sumerian moon god. The city of Ur in the Bible is also called Abraham’s homeland. Ur was one of the first village settlements, established around 4000 BC. 

Ur was essential for the commercial activity of the country. Numerous goods were imported here via the Persian Gulf. In the city, they were archaic clay tablets found. Incoming and outgoing goods were noted here, and an overview of the fields was written down.

Under the reign of Ur-Nammu, who reigned from 2113-2095 B.C. and ruled in Ur, Ur became one of the most influential cities in Mesopotamia. In the following period, the city of Ur in the Bible was partially destroyed and rebuilt under Nebuchadnezzar II. As the Persians conquered Babylonia, Ur finally perished.

Where is the City of Ur?

The city of Ur in the Bible arose in the defined period of the Ubaid Culture, around the fourth millennium BC. In a very advantageous geographical position. Near the Persian Gulf and at the meeting point between the tremendous Mesopotamian rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates. The small settlement emerged as an important trading center in the region. With its trade networks connecting as far as India.

Suppose the current location of Ur has been made by millennia of agricultural mulch from the great rivers. In that case, the remains of the ancient city of Ur are visible thanks to the archaeological excavations undertaken in 1919 by Henry Reginald Holland Hall. And later, in 1922, a joint mission of the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania, directed by Leonard Woolley. Today the impressive remains have undergone extensive restoration, including the famous Ziggurat of Ur. This magnificent structure dominated the urban landscape of the thriving settlement that housed the Sanctuary of Nanna.

During all the administrative changes, the capital Ur became a veritable bastion of culture and learning in southern Mesopotamia. The era coincides with the rise of commerce, efficient urban management, and the encouragement of artistic and scientific activities. In this regard, it can be assumed, from archaeological evidence, that the residents of Ur could have enjoyed better living standards than many urban dwellers of contemporary Mesopotamian cities. Cultural prominence also accompanied Ur’s military power, represented by a massive defensive system stretched nearly 200 kilometers.

ur in the bible

Ur: The City of the Moon God (Archaeological Histories). I’d like you to see it on Amazon.

What is the history of Ur?

Ur in the Bible, had been the capital of one of the most ancient kingdoms on Earth, that of the Sumerians, which went down at the end of the third millennium BC. It showed a level of civilization and a refinement of manners never found in other excavations in the Middle East area.

At the height of his enthusiasm, Wooley had photographs and drawings of houses in Ur published in newspapers and magazines worldwide. He wrote the caption: “Houses of the time of Abraham.” Suggesting that the biblical patriarch was born in one of those houses. However, his opinion was not very popular: the image of the wandering shepherd from pasture to pasture with his tents and flocks was too deeply rooted to give way to that of a refined citizen born and living in the splendid Ur of Sumerians.

Ur Of The Chaldeans, Place Of Origin Of Patriarch Abraham?

Secondly, the geographical indications that the Bible provides about Abraham’s land of origin seem to refer to a different location. Joshua, for example, says it was situated “on the other side of the river” ( Joshua 24, 2 ), probably the Euphrates. At the same time, the Ur of the Sumerians is “on this side,” concerning Palestine. Furthermore, the biblical text shows that the Ur of the Chaldeans was a region, not a city. Genesis 11:28 states that the native land of Abraham and his brothers was located in the Ur of the Chaldeans. And when Abraham sent his administrator to look for a wife for the heir Isaac. He said, “Go to my country … in Aram Naharaym, to the city of Nahor, my hometown” ( Genesis 24: 4-10).

From Nahor, the family of Abraham moved to Harran, in the region Genesis indicates with the name of “Paddam Aram.” That is the plain of Aram (it is only from the time of the Judges that the name Aram is given to Syria, particularly to the Damascus region).

So everything shows that Urartu is Abraham’s country of origin. Everything, except that particular of the Chaldeans. The latter did not constitute a real people: this name indicated the ruling class, aristocratic, of those Aramean populations in the 12th century BC. C. had invaded southern Mesopotamia, coming from northern Syria, and had also settled, among other things, in the region where the Ur of the Sumerians once stood.

ur in the bible

Representation of Ur in the Bible


The city of Ur in the Bible and ancient Mesopotamia was up to eight times larger than previously thought. Decades later, spy flights during the Cold War gave archaeologists insights into the legendary city of Ur. In the 1950s and 1960s, American planes took detailed pictures of areas in Iraq, which was then an ally of the Soviet Union. However, not only military facilities and critical infrastructure can be seen on it, but also the remains of ancient civilizations.

Historically, Ur lost importance with the rise of Hammurabi’s Babylon, followed by the Kassite and then Assyrian kingdoms. At the beginning of the 5th century BC, when the city was part of the Achaemenid Empire, it suffered a drastic fall. And in the space of a few decades, it was abandoned entirely. Biblical sources indicate Ur in the Bible as the birthplace of the patriarch Abraham: Genesis contains the name Ur Kasdim.

The river Euphrates, the lifeline of Mesopotamian high culture, still flowed near the city in the first millennium BC. Today, however, the remains of Ur in the Bible lie in the middle of the steppe. The former riverbed has dried up. A Babylonian king had conquered Ur and sealed the city’s downfall. The previously independent townspeople rebelled. “Then the water was turned off, the Euphrates was channeled differently, and life was no longer possible.