Builders in Mesopotamia always had a serious problem. There was not enough stone or wood. But there was lots and lots of clay. So their buildings were usually built of brick, or mud-brick. West Asian builders got used to building in brick. So even buildings which are built of stone often look like they are made of brick.
Another thing that made West Asian people build a certain way is that nomadic people were always moving into West Asia: the Persians, the Parthians, the Arabs. All of these people were used to living and entertaining in tents. They built their houses and palaces kind of like tents, so they would feel at home.
The Sumerians, about 3500 BC, built ziggurats, or towers made of clay bricks, with temples to the gods on top of them. They also built city walls out of bricks. Recent excavations show that people in southern Iran were building big ziggurats about the same time, and maybe even earlier.
When the Babylonians threw out the Assyrians, about 600 BC, there was a revival of old pre-Assyrian ideas, which showed up in building clay brick buildings again, like the famous Ishtar Gate at the top of this page.
Architecture in the Persian Empire
But soon after that the Persians conquered West Asia (in 539 BC). These nomads did not build anything at all for some time. But when they did decide to build a palace at Persepolis (the city of the Persians, in Iran) they hired the best workers from all over West Asia and the Mediterranean to work on it. Some of the men who worked on it were Greek. Persepolis had a big hall full of columns, like a giant tent held up by tent poles.
Alexander the Great and Hellenistic architecture
Eventually Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 331 BC. His successors brought in lots of Greek architects, and they built lots of Greek temples and theaters and gymnasia all over West Asia and even into India in the Hellenistic period.
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