Italy in talks with Iraq over restoring ancient city of Ur

The ziggurat of Nanna, Sumerian god of the moon, is the main visible remnant of Ur (Amjedha95/CC BY-SA 4.0)
The governments of Italy and Iraq held talks last week over two possible projects, one to restore the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar governorate and the other to construct a dam on the Shatt al-Arab waterway in the Basra governorate.

The discussions were between Khaled Batal Najim, Iraq’s planning minister, and a delegation headed by Maurizio Greganti, Italy’s ambassador to Iraq. 

According to a press statement from Iraq’s Ministry of Planning, the two projects were mentioned as officials discussed possible Italian investments in Iraq.

The statement did not go into details on either scheme, apart from saying that the Shatt al-Arab dam would prevent salt water from mixing with fresh water in the river.

The purpose of the Ur project is presumably to develop the site for tourism. The city was built by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago and is now about 16km from the modern city of Nasiriyah. The site is marked by a partially restored ziggurat containing the shrine of the moon god Nanna (pictured).

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