One of the difficulties with the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is that most of them have disappeared. Until recent times, the only information about them was from old writings. These were not always reliable and sometimes contradicted each other. There are remains of the Pharos of Alexandria. There are no remnants whatever of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This remarkable edifice has disappeared without trace.
In the river Euphrates, in the country we now call Iraq, there used to be a city called Babylon. It was the capital of Babylonia. There is now a city named Hilla, which was built from the ruins of old Babylon. Babylonia was one of the first areas in which humans settled and built cities. This was as far back as 4,000 BC. Its later role in history is mentioned several times in the Bible.
There is evidence that a rich garden did exist in Babylon. In the British Museum, there is a stone tablet listing many plants that were growing there over 2,500 years ago. It is known that there were great gardens there as far back as 3,000 years ago. Ancient Greek writers referred to a particular large terraced stone building with many gardens or flower beds within it or upon it.
The ancient people of Mesopotomia (the name of the general geographical area) built enormous brick or stone temples called ziggurats. These were terraced, had staircases, and were dedicated to various gods. And image of a god might have been in the top section. It is possible that the story of the Tower of Babel (in the Bible) refers to a great ziggurat in Babylon. It is also possible that such a ziggurat could have formed the structure for a towering garden. Archaeologists have discovered remains of unusually large or strongly-constructed buildings which might once have been the site of such an elaborate garden.
The drawing is my version of what one kind of ziggurat might have looked like. The stairs might also have been on ramps. The 'doors' might have been false. There might have been something inside the top part.
Archaeologists and historians believe that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were commenced in about 600 BC. They were not destroyed by an earthquake but by other minor disasters: erosion and warfare. The huge construction probably started falling apart under the influence of the weather. Armies and other raiders could have been for its eventual destruction and disappearance. After about 600 or 700 years, the whole structure had been levelled to the ground.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Challenges
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