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Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is not like the way many people have pictured of in their mind. What people think of this wonder is full of fruits and flowers... waterfalls... gardens hanging from the palace terraces... exotic animals. But it is surprising that these things about the hanging gardens only existed in the minds of early historians and Greek poets. In reality, these things never existed in the hanging gardens of Babylon.

The hanging gardens of Babylon is located in the city of Babylon, one of the most important ancient world. Today the city's location is marked by a broad area of ruins just east of the Euphrates River, 90 km (56 mi) south of Baghdad, Iraq. And that's where the hanging gardens of Babylon was located.

Like any other wonder, the hanging gardens of Babylon has a history behind it. The Babylonian kingdom flourished under the rule of the famous King, Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC). It was not until the reign of Naboplashar (625-605 BC) of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty that the Mesopotamian civilization reached its ultimate glory. His son, Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) is credited for building the legendary Hanging Gardens. It is said that the Gardens were built by Nebuchadnezzar to please his wife or concubine who had been "brought up in Media and had a passion for mountain surroundings".

While the most descriptive accounts of the Gardens come from Greek historians such as Berossus and Diodorus Siculus, Babylonian records stay silent on the matter. Tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar do not have a single reference to the Hanging Gardens, although descriptions of his palace, the city of Babylon, and the walls are found. Even the historians who give detailed descriptions of the Hanging Gardens never saw them.

Modern historians argue that when Alexander's soldiers reached the fertile land of Mesopotamia and saw Babylon, they were impressed. When they later returned to their rugged homeland, they had stories to tell about the amazing gardens and palm trees at Mesopotamia.. About the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.. About the Tower of Babel and the ziggurats. And it was the imagination of poets and ancient historians that blended all these elements together to produce one of the World Wonders.

It wasn't until the twentieth century that some of the mysteries surrounding the Hanging Gardens were revealed. Archaeologists are still struggling to gather enough evidence before reaching the final conclusions about the location of the Gardens, their irrigation system, and their true appearance.

II: Credit to ThinkQuestTeam on their good effort.

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