An architectural representation of Mari around 2400 BCE following the archaeological data.

Mari was a very important Semitic city-state in ancient Mesopotamia and within the state borders of modern-day Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located 11 kilometers north-west of Abu Kamal on the Euphrates river western bank.

On the representation, note specifically the double city wall, consisting of an inner wall protecting the core of the city, and an outer one for the expansion of its habitable area. Mari flourished as a trade center and expansive state between 2900 BCE and 1760 BCE. As a purposely-built city, the existence of Mari was related to its position in the middle of the Euphrates trade routes. This position made it an intermediary between Sumeria in the south and the Eblaite kingdom and the Levant in the west.

Below, the ruins of the main temple (ziggurat) of Mari (credit: wikimedia commons)