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The ancient Sumerian city of Girsu, located approximately midway between the modern cities of Baghdad and Basrah, in southern Iraq, is one of the earliest known cities of the world. At least five thousand years old, Girsu became the capital of the Lagash kingdom, a sacred metropolis devoted to the Sumerian heroic god Ningirsu, and continued to be its religious center after political power had shifted to the city of Lagash. It was at Girsu that evidence of Sumerian civilization was first discovered in the form of thousands of cuneiform tablets with records of economic, administrative and commercial matters of the city. Over fifty years of excavations of this mega archeological site has brought to light some of the most important monuments of Sumerian art and architecture, including a 4,000-year old bridge built of baked brick, which is the oldest bridge discovered in the world to date.


Aerial view of the Bridge of Girsu. Photo credit: British Museum

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