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Biblical Geography  

Ur of the Chaldees

Map of Ancient Ur 
Small Map of Ancient Ur of the Chaldeans

The Bible mentions that Abraham, the first Hebrew, was called by God to leave Ur of the Chaldees and to journey to a land that God would show him. Archaeologists have determined exactly where the city of Ur was located in ancient times.

Ancient Chaldea

The southernmost portion of ancient Sumer was called Chaldea, and the most important Sumerian city was located on the western portion of the Euphrates River and it was called Ur. The land of Chaldea contain riches beyond imagination, and Ur was the wealthiest city. The history in this region exceeds that of the land of Egypt and its pyramids.

Ancient Ur

Daily Life. There has been much understood about daily living in ancient Mesopotamia. The great Ziggurat of ancient Ur was built by King Ur-Nammu who ruled the area of ancient Ur around 2100 BC. This would've been approximately 250 years after the great flood of Noah, according to Usshers chronology.

Archaeologists estimate that there were approximately 24,000 people living in the city of Ur during the time of Abraham. The people of ancient Mesopotamia worshiped many gods, and the people of Ur worshiped their chief god named Nanna, the moon-god. The people of Ur lived in one of two main areas in the city: a very religious sacred place, or the common district.

The Common District. The people of ancient Ur were highly advanced culture. The common district was filled with marketplaces, schools, libraries, and many of the people were very wealthy. People had very nice homes with lush gardens and many conveniences.

The Sacred Place. The very religious sacred place was in an extremely strategic location of the city protected by strong walls. The place was dedicated to the worship of the moon-god, Nanna. It was in this area that the Ziggurat was located, there were also other great temples made of stone. There also was a "sacred area" where people brought their gifts and offerings to the Nanna, the moon-god. They would also bring their contributions and pay their taxes in this place, because Nanna was believed to be their protector. There have been excavations in this area with recordings on stone tablets of peoples gifts and taxes. These tablets were kept in the temples within the sacred place.

Abraham. Around 2000 BC there was a man named Abram living in Ur of the Chaldees who was a descendant of the godly line that descended from Adam, the ones who were making sacrifices to the LORD. The LORD appeared to Abram while he was living in Ur of the Chaldees and promised him that if he would leave his country and journey to a land that he had never seen God would make his descendants outnumber the sand on the seashore, and the stars in the sky. God promised Abram also that from his descendents one "seed" would be the Savior of all mankind. Abram obeyed God and left the city and journeyed across the Fertile Crescent into the land of Canaan where he and his descendents were pilgrims until God gave them the land as an inheritance. God later changed Abram's name to Abraham which means "father of many nations". Abraham journeyed up and around the Fertile Crescent through the land of Canaan and into Egypt.

Map of the Abraham's Journey from Ur to Haran to Egypt
Map of the Journey of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees

Geography of Ancient Ur


Mesopotamia in Smith's Bible Dictionary (Read Full Article)

Mesopotamia - (between the rivers), the entire country between the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. This is a tract nearly 700 miles long and from 20 to 250 miles broad, extending in a southeasterly direction from Telek to Kurnah. The Arabian geographers term it "the Island," a name which is almost literally correct, since a few miles only intervene between the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates at Telek. But the region which bears the name of Mesopotamia, par excellence, both in Scripture and in the classical writers, is the northwestern portion of this tract, or the country between the great bend of the Euphrates, lat. 35 degrees to 37 degrees 30', and the upper Tigris.

We first hear of Mesopotamia in Scripture as the country where Nahor and his family settled after quitting Ur of the Chaldees. Ge 24:10 Here lived Bethuel and Laban; and hither Abraham sent his servants to fetch Isaac a wife. Ibid. ver. 38. Hither too, a century later, came Jacob on the same errand; and hence he returned with his two wives after an absence of twenty-one years. After this we have no mention of Mesopotamia till the close of the wanderings int he wilderness. De 23:4 About half a century later we find, for the first and last time, Mesopotamia the seat of a powerful monarchy. Jud 3:1 ... Finally, the children of Ammon, having provoked a war with David, "sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah." 1Ch 19:6 According to the Assyrian inscriptions Mesopotamia was inhabited in the early times of the empire, B.C. 1200-1100, by a vast number of petty tribes, each under its own prince, and all quite independent of one another.

The Assyrian monarchs contended with these chiefs at great advantage, and by the time of Jehu, B.C. 880, had fully established their dominion over them. On the destruction of the Assyrian empire, Mesopotamia seems to have been divided between the Medes and the Babylonians. The conquests of Cyrus brought it wholly under the Persian yoke; and thus it continued to the time of Alexander. Since 1516 it has formed a part of the Turkish empire. It is full of ruins and mounds of ancient cities, some of which are now throwing much light on the Scripture.

Also see: Babylonia and Map of Ancient Mesopotamia

Map of Mesopotamia in 2000 BC
Map of Ancient Mesopotamia in 2000 BC (3rd Dynasty of Ur)

Genesis 10:6-11 "The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtechah; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar."