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Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan • Page 15

Lansing, Michigan
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Lansing State Journal Sunday, December 6, 1998 1 5A Christmas You better in New York City? plan for next year '1 Experts uncover zissnrat tion, you essentially have carte blanche to charge whatever you want," said Peter Yesawich, president of the travel marketing firm of Yesawich, Pepperdine and Brown. The New York City Convention and Visitors Bureau set up a hotline to help direct tourists to hotels. "You have to be flexible. You may not get the hotel of your choice or the location you want, but generally we can find something," said Fran Reiter, chairwoman of the tourism bureau, i The average room rate in the city $245 a day, compared with the national average of about $80, according to a survey by By Chelsea J. Carter Associated Press NEW YORK Dreaming of seeing the lights twinkle on the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center or strolling the decadently decorated canyons of Manhattan? Better make plans for next year, travel experts say, because there are virtually no rooms at the inn, the motel or the Waldorf Astoria this holiday season in New York City.

With about 9 million winter visi- tors expected, the city's 65,000 hotel rooms are nearly full or unavailable, and those few rooms that can be had are going for top dollar. "It only goes up from here," inaC6 Size The New Adam Brecht, a hotel industry analyst with PricewaterhouseCoopers, said last week. "The rates will range from $350 to $700 for a standard room between Thanksgiving and New Years." The Disney-fication of Times Square, the daily broadcasts of smiling faces outside NBC's Today Show and good word of mouth have made the city a top vacation destination. Broadway shows this year enjoyed their best ticket sales ever, "and top restaurants are booked. Many New York hotels are turning down 40 to 50 potential guests a night, Brecht said.

"There's no room to build new hotels. So if you have a good loca motorola V. (M) JASSIM MOHAMMEDAssociated Press Archaeological find: Workers dig near the tower of the temple of Borsippa, 75 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi archaeologists say the ziggurat in Borsippa is the best preserved of its kind. olOO -INCLUDES- Aft LS350 plus tax Open 8-5 Temple tower built by ancient Iraqi king to rival tower of Babel By Leon Barkho Associated Press BORSIPPA, Iraq After 20 years of digging, Austrian archaeologists say they've determined the design of a Mesopotamian ziggurat built by King Nebuchadnezzar some 2,500 years ago.

The temple tower consisted of seven terraces built of millions of mud bricks and rose 231 feet, the scientists say. It probably was similar to the many ziggurats built by Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler who ordered the destruction of the ancient Jewish temple in Jerusalem, they add. The temple of Borsippa, 75 miles south of Baghdad, was constructed atop the ruins of a smaller tower from the second millennium B.C. Nebuchadnezzar's temple was dedicated to Nabu, the god of science and learning in Mesopotamia and the king's protector. Wilfrid Allinger-Csollich of the University of Innsbruck said that of all the temple towers built during the Nebuchadnezzar's 40-year reign, the Borsippa ziggurat has best survived the ravages of time.

The Austrians removed thousands of tons of debris from the mound that gradually built up around the tower over the ages and uncovered most of the ziggurat's remains, which still rise to 172 feet. The work revealed the tower's exact dimensions, Allinger-Csollich said. "We did not use high-tech, but rudimentary means. We just counted the number of bricks," he said. The square bricks used by Nebuchadnezzar had standard dimensions 13 inches on each side and 3Vi inches in depth.

The Austrians used mechanical shovels to reach the foundation, which they measured at 297 by 297 feet. More than 1 million fired bricks were used for the first level's 3.3-foot-tall outer wall, Allinger-Csollich said. Given the Borsippa tower's height of 23 1 feet, "you can imagine how many more millions (of bricks) were needed in the construction of the outer walls of other stages," he said. The builders filled the inside of Pager One Month FREE Airtime One Month FREE Maintenance One Month FREE Voice Mail FREE BUNGEE The LS350 with FLEX technology, offers many enhanced features, including: 30 message slots; the ability to save messages when changing the battery; a smart alarm; time and date on standby; selective erase; and three musical alerts. In addition, LS350 has silent vibration, message timestamping, the ability to lock messages and an easy-to-read backlit display.

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"There must have been a big library of cuneiform tablets here, but we have missed it so far," she said. Among her finds are several tablets and a foundation stone with inscriptions detailing why and how the king built the tower in Borsippa. One text says the king wanted the Borsippa tower built on the same design as that of the Tower of Babel, of which only the foundation survives in Babylon 7 miles to the north. Another text quotes Nebuchadnezzar as declaring that Nabu's tower should reach the skies and be no less in grandeur than that of Babel, which was dedicated to the god Marduk. Allinger-Csollich said the team's evidence from texts and excavations show a tower of "greater dimensions than ours existed in Babylon." Iraq has another impressive ziggurat in Ur, which was built in about 2500 B.C.

But Nawal al-Mutawali of the Iraq Museum said Borsippa's remains are "greater, higher and more elegant." )i it') i 4 i Mhf srt. each level with tens of millions of unfired bricks held in place with cedar beams brought from Lebanon. The Austrians determined the tower had three staircases and are in the process of calculating how many steps each had. Their picture of the temple's exterior is almost complete. The first two levels were covered with bitumen and were black.

The third, fourth and fifth were decorated with blue-glazed bricks and possibly adorned with bulls and lions. The sixth and seventh terraces, close to the sanctuary, were wholly made of mud brick. "For cultic purposes the Mesopo-tamians thought mud to be the purest of substances," said Helga Trenkwalder, leader of the seven-member Austrian team. "On top was Nabu's residence with rooms for servants and priests and wings for his wife, Tachmitum, his children and daughters. It must have looked really fantastic." Trenkwalder said Borsippa, being the residence of Nabu, was the I )( I 1 I i 1 i i 1 i I I I I 1 i i I i I i i 1 i f.

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