THE HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are considered to be one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They were built in the ancient city-state of Babylon, near present-day Al Hillah, Babil, in Iraq. They are sometimes called the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis (in reference to the legendary Queen Semiramis).

The gardens were supposedly built by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his homesick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland. The gardens were destroyed by several earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.

 In some stories, people say that the Hanging Gardens went hundreds of feet into the air, but through archaeological explorations people now think were probably weren’t that big. The ancient city of Babylon, which was under King Nebuchadnezzar II, must have been a wonder to a travelers. In 450 B.C., a historian named Herodotus wrote, “In addition to it’s size, Babylon surpasses any city in the known world.” Herodotus said the outer walls were 80 feet thick, 320 feet high, and 56 miles in length. He said that it was wide enough for a four-horse chariot to turn. Fortresses and temples containing immense statues of solid gold were inside the inner walls.
Above the city was the famous tower of Babel, which was a temple to the God Marduk. It looked like it reached the heavens.

Archaeological examination has found that some of Herodotus’s claims (the outer walls seem to be only 10 miles long, and not nearly as high) might not be true. But his story does tell us how cool the features of the city appeared to those who visited it.

Accounts indicate that King Nebuchadnezzar built the garden. He ruled the city for 43 years starting in 605 B.C. According to accounts, the Gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzer to cheer up his homesick wife. Where she came from, there was green grass and mountainous plains. She found the dry, flat ground of Mesopotamia depressing. The King wanted to recreate her homeland.

Babylon rarely got rain and for the gardens to survive, it would have to have been irrigated by using water from the Euphrates River. People would have probably had to lift water very far into the air at each level. A chain pump was probably used to help. A chain pump is two large wheels on top of each other. Buckets are hung on a chain that connects the wheels. The bucket goes into the water then comes up and goes into a new pool.The empty buckets go back into the water to be refilled. The water at the top is then emptied through into a channel gate that is like a artificial stream to water the gardens.

Construction of the garden wasn’t only complicated by getting water to the top, but also by having to avoid having the water wreck the foundation once it was released. Stone was difficult to get in Mesopotamian. Most of the buildings in Babel used brick.

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~ by ferry1984 on July 20, 2011.

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