Crestone Ziggurat

Crestone, Colorado | C.1978

Photo Credit: Kayla Heersink

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Originally constructed in ancient Mesopotamia, ziggurats were structures meant to connect the divine and Earth. These skyscrapers of ancient cities in now modern Iraq and Iran had staircases that appeared to lead directly into the clouds. Consisting of multiple levels of rectangular or square bases, some of the oldest structures date back as far as 4000 BC, with their tiers of sun-baked brick still partially intact.

Due to their age, we unfortunately do not know the full uses of ziggurats, but can surmise their great importance in the Sumerian and Babylonian cultures. Kings had their names inscribed on bricks of these great complexes, wishing to connect themselves to the most powerful gods and sacred rituals were performed on the towers.

Fast forwarding many millennia, Najeeb Halaby was a Syrian-American businessman and leader of Pan American Airlines. Credited with the first transcontinental jet flight in U.S. history, Halaby was a pioneer of American aviation, and by 1978 cemented quite the legacy for himself as his daughter, Noor, would become the first American-born Queen of Jordan.

Located in Crestone, Halaby had this ziggurat constructed on his property as a place for thought and prayer. While ancient ziggurats were only accessible to royalty and priests, this one is among the many religious relics and sites open to the public that call the mountainside town of 141 home.

Though not attached to any particular religious order, battling winds to climb to the top of the spiral tower without railings is an exercise of faith for any denomination.

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