Video gives Ali Airmen insight into Ziggurat of Ur

7/3/2009 – ALI BASE, Iraq — Ali Base Airmen can now learn about the Ziggurat of Ur and Abraham’s home thanks to a video produced by a public affairs NCO.

“The video gives Ali Airmen the chance to learn about and take a virtual tour of the Ziggurat we can see from the base,” said Staff Sgt. James Stewart, 407th Air Expeditionary Group broadcaster. “After the tours ended in April, we decided to produce a video so future Airmen deployed here can understand the historic significance of this area.

Sergeant Stewart began the video project in February, a month after beginning his deployment. With the video finished, the Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Airmen hopes people enjoy it.

“This area is rich in historical and biblical tradition,” Sergeant Stewart said. “I’m glad future Airmen here will have the opportunity to learn what I’ve learned.”

The 16-minute Ziggurat of Ur video is available at the 407th AEG Website,

U.S. officials returned control of the Ziggurat of Ur back to Iraqi authorities April 13. Since 2003, the 4,100-year-old historic site was within the confines of Contingency Operating Base Adder.

The Ziggurat and Abraham’s home is less than two miles outside COB Adder’s front gate. The Ziggurat was temple to the Sumerian moon god Nanna. The site contains biblical history with the presence of Abraham’s home. Abraham is the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the world’s three largest monotheistic religions. It is from this area where the Bible records God calling Abram – Abraham’s original name – to leave his home and go “to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

The city of Ur of the Chaldeans is located in southern area of Iraq and was first identified in Genesis 12:28. It’s considered the most ancient city of Samaria and later Babylonia. The Sumerians were credited with inventing irrigation, the wheel and the first written language.

“The Ziggurat was originally a place of worship for the Sumerians who built it about 4,000 years ago,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Kevin Lockett, former 407th Air Expeditionary Group chaplain. Before access to the Ziggurat was closed, the chaplain conducted three tours a week to the historic site. “This was the place civilization, as we know it, began.

This was the time when people evolved from individual families who survived as hunters and gatherers into communities where they relied upon each other as farmers, craftsmen and tradesmen. This was one of the first cities known to exist.”

(Staff Sgt. Kenya Shiloh and Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff, 407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs, contributed to this article.)


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