The hanging gardens of Babylon is one among the seven wonders of the ancient world. But now its exact location is not known. And all the more their very existence is questionable because there is no archaeological evidence of their existence. The hanging gardens of Babylon was believed to have been constructed by king Nebuchadnezzar II in the ancient city of Babylon.
The hanging gardens of Babylon looked like a big green mountain built with brick walls. Its called Hanging gardens because they were built high above the ground in multilevel terraces. The garden contained all types of trees, shrubs, vines and herbs. All the plants were rooted to the ground.
The hanging garden of Babylon was belived to have been built by king Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife Queen Amytis because she missed the green hills of her homeland. He also built a palace for his wife. It was probably built in 605 bc. It was thought to be 75 feet high and must have consumed 8500 gallons of water. It must have been watered by ancient irrigation system. The garden was beleived to have been detsroyed by war and erosion, But finally it was earthquake which totally destroyed its total existence.
The word ‘hanging’ comes from the Latin word ‘pensilis’ or the translation of the Greek word ‘kremastos’. It actually means overhanging instead of just hanging.
A Greek historian named Diordorus Siculus described the gardens as being 400 feet wide by 400 feet long. He also said that the walls were more than 80 feet high.
Between 1899 and 1917 a German archaeologist Robert Koldewey may have unearthed the Hanging Gardens. What he unearthed resembled what Diordorus Siculus had described. In the bottom of the ‘hanging gardens’ there were three strange holes in the floor that would have worked well for a chain pump irrigation system. This would have made it possible to irrigate the plants.
Recent excavations have found traces of aqueducts near Nineveh, which would have supported such a garden. Nineveh is 300 miles away from Babylon.
Architecture of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The park extended fourplethra on each side, and since the approach to the garden sloped like a hillside and the several parts of the structure rose from one another tier on tier, the appearance of the whole resembled that of a theatre. When the ascending terraces had been built, there had been constructed beneath them galleries which carried the entire weight of the planted garden and rose little by little one above the other along the approach; and the uppermost gallery, which was fifty cubits high, bore the highest surface of the park, which was made level with the circuit wall of the battlements of the city. Furthermore, the walls, which had been constructed at great expense, were twenty-two feet thick, while the passageway between each two walls was ten feet wide. The roof above these beams had first a layer of reeds laid in great quantities of bitumen, over this two courses of baked brick bonded by cement, and as a third layer of covering of lead, to the end that the moisture from the soil might not penetrate beneath. On all this again earth had been piled to a depth sufficient for the roots of the largest trees; and the ground, when levelled off, was thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their great size or other charm, could give pleasure to the beholder. And since the galleries, each projecting beyond another, all received the light, they contained many royal lodgings of every description; and there was one gallery which contained openings leading from the topmost surface and machines for supplying the gardens with water, the machines raising the water in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it being done. Now this park, as I have said, was a later construction.
Theories of Hanging Gardens of Babylon
To date, no archaeological evidence has been found at Babylon for the Hanging Gardens. It is possible that evidence exists beneath the Euphrates, which cannot be excavated safely at present. The river flowed east of its current position during the time of Nebuchadnezzar II, and little is known about the western portion of Babylon. Rollinger has suggested that Berossus attributed the Gardens to Nebuchadnezzar for political reasons, and that he had adopted the legend from elsewhere.
A recent theory proposes that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were actually constructed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib (reigned 704 – 681 BC) for his palace at Nineveh Stephanie dolly posits that during the intervening centuries the two sites became confused, and the extensive gardens at Sennacherib’s palace were attributed to Nebuchadnezzar II’s Babylon.Recently discovered evidence includes excavation of a vast system of aqueducts inscribed to Sennacherib, which Dalley proposes were part of a 50-mile (80 km) series of canals, dams, aqueducts, used to carry water to Nineveh with water raising screws used to raise it to the upper levels of the gardens.
The multiple Greek and Roman accounts of the Hanging Gardens, however, were second-hand–written centuries after the wonder’s alleged destruction. First-hand accounts did not exist, and for centuries, archaeologists have hunted in vain for the remains of the gardens. A group of German archaeologists even spent two decades at the turn of the 20th century trying to unearth signs of the ancient wonder without any luck. The lack of any relics has caused skeptics to question whether the supposed desert wonder was just an “historical mirage.”
Dalley explains that the reason for the confusion of the location of the gardens could be due to the Assyrian conquering of Babylon in 689 B.C. Following the takeover, Nineveh was referred to as the “New Babylon,” and Sennacherib even renamed the city gates after those of Babylon’s entrances. Dalley’s assertions could debunk thoughts that the elusive ancient wonder was an “historical mirage,” but they could also prove that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are mislabeled and should truly be the Hanging Gardens of Nineveh.
Images of Hanging Garden of Babylon