How Did They Do That?

The an­cient city of Baby­lon, home of the Hang­ing Gar­dens .........................................................

History Revealed - - CONTENTS -

Baby­lon was founded as small ad­min­is­tra­tive cen­tre in the third mil­len­nia BC by Akaa­dian king Sar­gon the Great, around 50 miles south of mod­ern-day Bagh­dad. Over the next few cen­turies, it flour­ished into a cul­tural Mecca and cap­i­tal of the Baby­lo­nian Em­pire. Though many of its ru­ins are now in­ac­ces­si­ble due to ris­ing wa­ter lev­els, the men­tions in the Bi­ble pro­vide an in­valu­able in­sight into life in this leg­endary city.


The Euphrates River ran through the cen­tre of Baby­lon, di­vid­ing the city in half. Metal grates were con­structed un­der­wa­ter to pre­vent in­va­sion via the wa­ter­way, but Per­sian king Cyrus the Great suc­cess­fully nav­i­gated these de­fences and con­quered Baby­lon in 539 BC.


This brick-paved cor­ri­dor was over half-a-mile long. Re­li­gious pa­rades and fes­tiv­i­ties took place here. It con­nected the palace to the Tem­ple of Mar­duk, the pro­tec­tor god of Baby­lon.


This sixth-cen­tury-BC gate was ded­i­cated to the Me­sopotamian goddess Ishtar. It was dec­o­rated with al­ter­nat­ing rows of dragons and au­rochs – a now-ex­tinct species of wild cat­tle.


The Etemenanki was a zig­gu­rat around 90 me­tres high, with a tem­ple shrine at the top. It may have pro­vided in­spi­ra­tion for the Tower of Babel, a bib­li­cal story in which the con­struc­tion of a great tower in Baby­lon was dis­rupted, af­ter God made the work­ers speak dif­fer­ent lan­guages.


Ne­buchad­nez­zar II built three ma­jor palaces in Baby­lon – a south­ern palace with 500 rooms, a north­ern palace, and a sum­mer palace on the north­ern tip of the outer wall, for when the air was sti­fling and the smells un­bear­able.


Dur­ing Baby­lon’s golden age, the city’s dou­ble walls were fur­ther strength­ened with the ad­di­tion of a third wall. Greek his­to­rian Herodotus claimed them to be 56 miles long, 24 me­tres thick and 97 me­tres high, but 12-15 me­tres is the more likely height. They were con­sid­ered im­pen­e­tra­ble.



Iraqi pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sein or­dered the re­con­struc­tion of Baby­lon’s ru­ined walls A re­con­struc­tion of the Ishtar Gate, built us­ing the orig­i­nal bricks, now stands in the Perg­a­mon Mu­seum, Ber­lin

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