Ашшур или Ассур — столица древней Ассирии, первый город, построенный ассирийцами и названный в честь ассирийского Верховного бога Ашшура. Ашшур, в аккадской мифологии центральное божество ассирийского пантеона. Первоначально - бог-покровитель города Ашшур (главный храм - Эхурсагкуркурра). Теологи наделили его всеми регалиями повелителя вселенной, творца и организатора космоса и сделали отцом богов. Древнейшие археологические слои относятся к 4-му тысячелетию до н. э. В конце 3-го — начале 2-го тысячелетия до н. э. был городом-государством (управлялся правителем — «иш-шаккумом» совместно с советом старейшин); центром шумеро-аккадской культуры и крупнейшим центром транзитной торговли.
The Mesopotamian civilization, one the worlds four great ancient civilizations, was born in the region which is today Iraq. Approximately 300km upriver from the capital, Baghdad, at the historic site of Ashur are several large brick buildings on high ground next to the river Tigris. The large pyramid-shaped one is called a Ziggurat. Ashur was the first capital, and most the important religious center, of the Assyrian Empire. The empire possessed massive military power and controlled a vast area stretching all the way to modern day Egypt and Turkey. The Ziggurat of Ashur was built with adobe bricks. It has lost its original shape after centuries of erosion by wind and rain. A large hole was dug at the base of the pyramid by archeologists hoping to find royal tombs or treasure, but none were ever discovered. If it was not meant to be a tomb, what then was the purpose of the Ziggurat? The answer was discovered at another Ziggurat built in the ancient city of Ur. It has a large, well-preserved external staircase which confirms that a Ziggurat was used as a temple. In the temple at the top of the tower kings and high priests made offerings and prayed for a good harvest. It is believed that a Ziggurat was also used as a shelter when the river Tigris flooded. In the Old Testament of the Bible it is written that people and their livestock fled from the flood water into just such a building. The Ziggurat in Ashur has recently faced another serious danger; a new dam project which threatened to submerge the site. The driving factor of this project is the international conflict over fresh water resources. In recent years dams have been constructed upriver. As a result, downstream Iraq faces serious water shortages. Saddam Hussein had planned on constructing a dam downriver from Ashur. If the plan had gone ahead the entire ancient city would have been completely submerged. The project was put on hold following the fall of the Hussein regime and in 2003 Ashur was added simultaneously to both the World Heritage and the World Heritage in Danger lists. However, Iraqs water shortage problem remains unsolved and the project may be reconsidered again in the future.