The Minister for Transport in Iraq made a controversial speech at the inauguration of a new airport in southern Dhi Qar, in which he stated that ancient Sumerians built the first airports 7,000 years ago and launched spaceships from there to explore other planets. He also claimed that all the world’s angels were Sumerian. To support his claims, he referred to the work of Samuel Kramer, Russian professor and Sumerian expert, who highlighted the Sumerians’ advanced understanding of the cosmos.
The Sumerians were the first known people to settle in Mesopotamia over 7,000 years ago. Located in the southernmost part of Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (modern day Iraq), Sumer was often called the cradle of civilization. By the 4th millennium BC, it had established an advanced system writing, spectacular arts and architecture, astronomy and mathematics.
The Sumerians recorded their astronomical observations as early as 3500–3200 BC. Astronomical phenomena were important to the Sumerians, who equated planets with gods that held an important role in their mythology and religion. Jupiter, for example, was associated with their main god, Marduk, patron deity of the city of Babylon.
Illustration of ancient Mesopotamia. (Credit: Jeff Brown Graphics)
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