Erech (Wikipedia)
𒌷𒀕 or 𒌷𒀔 Unug (Sumerian)
𒌷𒀕 Uruk (Akkadian)
وركاء or أوروك Warkāʼ or Auruk(Arabic)
Part of front of Inanna temple of Kara Indasch from Uruk Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin.jpg
Relief on the front of the Inanna temple of Karaindash from Uruk. Mid 15th century BC. Pergamon Museum.
Uruk is located in Iraq
Shown within Iraq
LocationAl-Warka, Muthanna Governorate, Iraq
Coordinates31°19′27″N 45°38′14″E / 31.32417°N 45.63722°E / 31.32417; 45.63722Coordinates: 31°19′27″N 45°38′14″E / 31.32417°N 45.63722°E / 31.32417; 45.63722
Area6 km2 (2.3 sq mi)
Founded4th millennium BC
AbandonedApproximately 700 AD
PeriodsUruk period to Early Middle Ages
Site notes
Official nameUruk Archaeological City
Part ofAhwar of Southern Iraq
CriteriaMixed: (iii)(v)(ix)(x)
Inscription2016 (40th Session)
Area541 ha (2.09 sq mi)
Buffer zone292 ha (1.13 sq mi)

Uruk (/ˈrʊk/; Cuneiform: 𒌷𒀕 or 𒌷𒀔 URUUNUG; Sumerian: Unug; Akkadian: Uruk; Arabic: وركاء or أوروك‎, Warkāʼ or Auruk; Aramaic/Hebrew: אֶרֶךְ ʼÉreḵ; Ancient Greek: Ὀρχόη, romanizedOrkhoē, Ὀρέχ Orekh, Ὠρύγεια Ōrugeia) was an ancient city of Sumer (and later of Babylonia), situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the dried-up, ancient channel of the Euphrates, some 30 km east of modern Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.

Uruk is the type site for the Uruk period. Uruk played a leading role in the early urbanization of Sumer in the mid-4th millennium BC. At its height c. 2900 BC, Uruk probably had 50,000–80,000 residents living in 6 km2 (2.32 sq mi) of walled area; making it the largest city in the world at the time. The legendary king Gilgamesh, according to the chronology presented in the Sumerian king list, ruled Uruk in the 27th century BC. The city lost its prime importance around 2000 BC, in the context of the struggle of Babylonia against Elam, but it remained inhabited throughout the Seleucid (312–63 BC) and Parthian (227 BC to 224 AD) periods until it was finally abandoned shortly before or after the Islamic conquest of 633–638.

William Kennett Loftus visited the site of Uruk in 1849 and led the first excavations from 1850 to 1854; he had identified it as "Erech", known as "the second city of Nimrod".

The Arabic name of Babylonia, which eventually became the name of the present-day country, al-ʿIrāq, is thought to derive from the name Uruk, via Aramaic (Erech) and possibly via Middle Persian (Erāq) transmission.

In Sumerian the word uru could mean "city, town, village, district".

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