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[[File: Ancient_ziggurat.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left|The Ziggurat of Ur]]__NOTOC__
The people of ancient Mesopotamia practiced a religion that modern scholars are only just beginning to understand. The physical focal point of their religion was the monumental, triangular structures known as ziggurats. Today, many people like to compare ziggurats derived from the ancient Akkadian word for the structures, <i>ziggurratu</i> – with their counterparts, the pyramids in Egypt. Although both pyramids and ziggurats were constructed during the same time period, they served different functions and were built using different methods and from different materials. Ziggurats were also built over a much longer period than Egyptian pyramids, and most importantly, ziggurats were built by a plethora of different people who inhabited ancient Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia, unlike Egypt, was full of disparate and, at times, warring ethnic groups. Still, they all followed a similar religion and built ziggurats to appease their gods and assign temporal power.