One of the most astonishing constructions to emerge from the ancient world was a ziggurat.
A ziggurat was an enormous building made of stone and bitumen, a material used to coat and bind bricks together. A ziggurat was essentially a tower made up of multiple levels that got smaller as they reached towards the sky. Try to imagine it: a stack of quarters, topped by a stack of nickels; and then, the stack of nickels topped by a stack of dimes; and then finally, the stack of dimes topped by a stack of pennies. A ziggurat would have looked something like this. Only a lot bigger.
The ziggurat of Etemenanki was the biggest of all. It reached 295 feet into the air; its bottom - or foundation - was 300 feet around. Like all ziggurats, the tower at Etemenanki was adorned with enamel tiles in a brilliant color and decorated with gold-plated statues. And at its very top was an impressive-looking shrine dedicated to the god Marduk. In this shrine was a statue made of gold and weighing 22 tons. That’s right. Twenty-two tons. This is probably the reason why the tower at Etemenanki was so much bigger than the other ziggurats - it needed to be, in order to support the weight of that enormous statue.
There were about 30 ziggurats in all. Each one of them was built as an architectural tribute to “a local god”. Eventually, as the city of Babylon grew in power and dominance, Marduk became the central god of worship, and the other gods diminished in relevance and importance.The tower of Etemenanki was probably the tower referred to in the Bible as “the tower of Babel”. The word “babel” may have come from the Babylonian word “Babi-lu” which means “gate of god” .(Tradition says that it came from the Hebrew word that means “to confuse”,) The fact that the ziggurats were built as gates of the gods is interesting, because the Babylonians actually intended for the topmost part of the ziggurat to be the god’s “stopping point” on Earth.
Is it possible that the Babylonians were creating portals or gateways for the gods to come through? Could this be why God thwarted the architectural plans of the Babylonians? Could the Babylonians have been in danger of calling down something that they weren’t ready for?
source: Reader’s Digest: How Did It Really Happen? Decide What You Believe About Histories Most Intriguing Mysteries.