Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Hanging Gardens of Babylon is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is thought to have been located near the royal palace in Babylon.

Where is the Hanging Garden of Babylon located?

At present, the site of the garden is not found yet. However, according to ancient texts, it was located in the ancient Babylon city, which is currently located in present-day Iraq near the Euphrates River. It became one of the largest and powerful cities under the rule of Hammurabi.

Ancient Babylonian Wall art

Do the Hanging Gardens of Babylon exist?

During his excavations from 199 to 1914, Robert Koldewey (a German archaeologist) found fourteen rooms with stone arch ceilings in the northeastern corner of the palace at Babylon. According to ancient texts, stones were used in only two places: the Hanging garden and the north wall of the northern citadel. As the latter has been already founded, Koldewey’s believed he had found the remains of the ancient hanging garden. Yet, his finding is debatable. Hence, some scholars suggested that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are pure fiction.

Whoever is the real designer of this park is Cree. Around 450 BC, its beauty was discussed throughout the Greek world. Many visited the park and considered it the most beautiful park ever built in the world.

Who built the Hanging gardens of Babylon?

Some ancient writings this remarkable garden was a work of Queen Sammu-Ramat, who reigned from 810 to 783 BC. According to popular belief, the hanging garden was built by King Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled between 605BC and 563 BC. He built this monumental structure for his bellowed wife, Amyitis because she missed the mountains and greenery of her homeland.

Was it a Hanging garden?

According to some scholars, the garden was not a place hung by ropes or wires at high altitudes. It is considered a mistake when translating the Latin word ‘pensilis‘ or the translation of the Greek word ‘kremastos’. It means overhanging instead of just hanging. The hanging gardens of Babylon was located on the terraces leading out of the royal palace. This gave the park a natural mountainous landscape shape. Irrigation water was supplied to the park by pumps from the Euphrates River.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon facts

  • Herodotus, who lived in the 5th century BC, gives a very long description of the city of Babylon in his chronicles. Surprisingly, he did not make any notes on the park.
  • Greek Historian Strabo described the hanging garden in his text “Geographies”and it is on this account that this and the hanging garden are called one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The garden is quadrangular in shape, and each side is four plethra in length. It consists of arched vaults, which are situated, one after another, on checkered, cube-like foundations. The checkered foundations, which are hollowed out, are covered so deep with earth that they admit of the largest of trees, having been constructed of baked brick and asphalt—the foundations themselves and the vaults and the arches. The ascent to the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway; and alongside these stairs there were screws, through which the water was continually conducted up into the garden from the Euphrates by those appointed for this purpose. For the river, a stadium in width, flows through the middle of the city; and the garden is on the bank of the river.

Geographies, Book 16, ch 1, § 5
  • In this record, Strabo mentions a sophisticated screw mechanism that brought water up from the river to irrigate the plants. He also cites the availability of steps to access the different floors.
  • Diordorus Siculus, a Greek historian, reported the gardens as 400 feet broad by 400 feet long. He also claimed that the walls were almost 80 feet tall.

Hanging gardens in Nineveh

According to Dr. Stephanie Dalley, a research fellow at Oxford University in England claims that the Hanging garden of Babylon was the garden was built in Nineveh, 300 miles to the north of Babylon. As mentioned in her book “The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced,” the garden was built in the seventh century BC by the Assyrian king Sennacherib, not Nebuchadnezzar II.

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of an ancient aqueduct system that delivered water from the mountains to Nineveh. According to Dr. Stephanie Dalley, Sennacherib’s Hanging Gardens of Babylon are mislabeled as those of Nineveh. The reason for the confusion could be due to the Assyrian conquering of Babylon in 689 B.C.

As mentioned earlier, Herodotus did not point out the hanging garden in his Babylonian city records, probably because it was not located in that city.

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