Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, sometimes called the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, were constructed by the Babylonian King, Nebuchadrezzar II, around 600 B.C. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were located in modern day Iraq, close to the Euphrates River. King Nebuchadrezzar II presumably erected the immense lofty gardens to soothe his lover, Amytis, who yearned for the scenic green splendor of Media, her former home. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in second century B.C. and are the only one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World whose existence is unverifiable by its ruins.

It is commonly accepted that The Hanging Gardens of Babylon in all likelihood were not actually “hanging” but rather the word “hanging” was derived from an approximate translation of the Greek word “kremastos” which means “overhanging”. The gardens described as being 100 feet long by 100 feet wide are said to have been constructed on immense quadrangle shaped terraces made of brick and arranged in step-like levels. Each of the terraces contained vaults that had been built beneath them and supported the whole weight of the garden. On the same level as the city walls was the highest point of the garden and the uppermost vault at an impressive elevation of 75 feet. Covering the vaults were roofs of stone beams approximately sixteen feet in length. It was unheard of in Babylon at this time for such slabs of stone to be used. Reeds intermixed with thick tar were layered over the beams, followed by two levels of brick and a lead layer designed to stop any moisture in the dirt from seeping through the roof. Enough dirt was piled atop the roof then to enable planting of even the largest of trees. Some authors described the gardens as elevated on high columns of stone, which enabled citizens of Babylon to walk beneath them.

Although it is obvious that in the dry desert climate, the gardens could not have existed without some type of irrigation to nourish them, there are conflicting theories about how this irrigation was accomplished. There is additional debate about whether the Hanging Gardens of Babylon did indeed exist mainly because scientists today insist that only a complicated irrigation system could have carried the water from the Euphrates up to the point where it could have been used to irrigate the gardens. The verdant Hanging Gardens are thoroughly acknowledged by Greek and Roman historians however no documentation or mention of the Hanging Gardens exists in Babylonian records. It is possible that over the years, the actual location could have been interchanged with existing gardens in Ancient Assyria, being that there are tablet writings that unmistakably document gardens in that location.

It is believed by some that over the years the Hanging Gardens of Babylon may have been confused with gardens that existed at Nineveh, on the eastern side of the Tigris River, since tablets from there clearly show gardens. Documentation on the Nineveh tablets, do illustrate a method of raising the water to the height that would have been required to irrigate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The lack of mention of the Hanging Gardens throughout Babylonian history as well as the fact that there are no ruins available that can provide evidence the massive gardens existed, mean that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to this day remain the only unverified structure among the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.