Museums; These are very important structures for human civilization, where history, culture, science and art are preserved and passed down from generation to generation. For this reason, nowadays there are dozens of museums filled with many historical artifacts or works of art. However, the value of museums is nothing new. There are people in history who realized the importance of museums thousands of years ago. Princess Ennigaldi-Nanna, daughter of Nabonidus, the last king of the Babylonian Empire, is one of these far-sighted people.

Around 530 BC Ennigaldi-Nanna founded the first ever public museum in the province of Ur, located in the modern Iraqi region of Dikar. The museum, which was called “E-Gig-Par” in the years of its foundation, exhibited artifacts that were already in 530 BC. described as “historic”, ancient military instruments and statues of important rulers of the past. Ennigaldi-Nanna, the woman who founded the first museum in history, considered museology a very serious business and tried to classify and label museum works. So much so that, at the direction of Ennigaldi-Nanna, even detailed catalogs were prepared for the museum! Here’s what you need to know about Ennigaldi-Nanna, one of the most visionary women in human history and founder of the first ever museum.

Ennigaldi-Nanna was born in 547 BC.

Painting by Henry Justice Ford “The Princess of Babylon and the Phoenix”.

Ennigaldi-Nanna, daughter of Nabonidus, the last king of the Babylonian Empire, was one of the most influential political figures in the province of Ur, where she lived. Ennigaldi-Nanna’s political power stemmed from her being the high priestess of Sin, the moon god in Babylonian mythology. Ennigaldi-Nanna was also considered a “human spouse” who was assigned to serve the god Sin.

On the other hand, the duties of Ennigaldi-Nanna included the management of the temple built for the god of the moon, and the care of the education of the nuns there. However, Ennigaldi-Nanna went down in history not for his duties in the religious sphere, but for his pioneering works in the field of culture and history.

A Babylonian princess established a public museum in the province of Ur around 530 BC.

The museum, then called E-Gig-Par, was the first museum in history! Moreover, the museum housed not only historical artifacts, but also various living quarters, the construction of which was supervised by Ennigaldi-Nanna himself.

In the museum founded by Ennigaldi-Nanna; various historical artifacts, ancient military tools and statues of important rulers of the past were exhibited.

Iraqi National Museum. Today, most of the works from the museum founded by Ennigaldi-Nanna are exhibited here.

Most of the artefacts on display in the museum were discovered during excavations led by Nabonidus, a king who was very fond of archeology. Ennigaldi-Nanna, who we understood had a great passion for archaeological sites, museums and historical artifacts, also accompanied us. The museum displays objects, many dating back to the 20th century BC, maces used in wars, and parts of a statue that appears to have belonged to the Sumerian king Shulgi.

Understanding that museology was a very valuable occupation thousands of years ago, the princess also attached great importance to the classification and labeling of exhibits.

One of the stickers in the museum

So much so that most of the historical artifacts in the museum were labeled in three different languages, including Sumerian. In addition, with the support and efforts of Ennigaldi-Nanna, exhaustive catalogs of the museum were prepared, and the museum inventory was recorded on clay tablets.

Ennigaldi-Nanna continued to be interested in the museum until 500 BC, when his power in the region continued.


However, after the region came under the control of the Achaemenid Empire, the first historical museum was forgotten until 1925. The museum, which Ennigaldi-Nanna dried up after strenuous efforts, was discovered by British archaeologist Leonard Woolley in 1925. During the excavations carried out in the historical province of Ur, the remains of the museum building and written documents belonging to the museum were discovered.

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