E-Khur-Sag Building

The Ehursag meaning ‘House of the Mountain,’ also called the ‘Palace of Ur-Nammu and Shulgi,’ was constructed under the reigns of those two Third Dynastic kings. The building measured 59 meters on each of its four sides, and consisted of 41 rooms and chambers, including a large courtyard and elongated storage rooms. Each of the rooms was paved with baked bricks set in bitumen. 

Woolley noted that “two rooms against the southeast wall have immensely solid floors raising them above the general level and approached by steps in the doorways.” He initially thought the building was a temple but was unable to find evidence that it was anything other than a royal residence. He said, “I would identify Ehursag as the palace of the Third Dynasty kings, the northwest part of it being the official Hall of Audience, the two residential blocks the living-quarters of the king and of his harem respectively.” 

The Ehursag was in use throughout the remainder of the Third Dynasty, but was destroyed at the hands of the Elamites in about 2000 BCE. However, it was restored and occupied by kings in the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian and Neo-Babylonian periods, including Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus. The latest surviving buildings on the upper terrace dated from the Isin-Larsa/Old Babylonian period.