- Location:About 50 miles to the southwest of Baghdad
- Attraction type: An ancient wonder
- Significance: On of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World
- Best time to Visit: March/April, September/October
- How to reach: By road from Baghdad
- Nearest Airport: Baghdad International Airport
Hanging Gardens of Babylon was a stupendous gift from King Nebuchadnezzar to his wife Amytis. One among the ancient Seven Wonders of the World, the Babylon Hanging Gardens was a mammoth construction which keeps surprising architects and scholars even to this day. The remains of this majestic structure can still be found to the southwest of modern day Baghdad.
The history of the Hanging Gardens goes back to 7th century BC when Nebuchadnezzar ruled Mesopotamia for about 43 years starting from 605 BC. Nebuchadnezzar, in order to create an alliance with the king of Medes, married his daughter Amytis. Amytis coming from a more fertile and vegetative region found Mesopotamia dry, sun-baked and flat. To please her and somewhat create a surrounding similar to her homeland, King Nebuchadnezzar had an artificial mountain with gardens along its sloped, constructed on the banks of River Euphrates.
According to Strabo, a Greek geographer, the Hanging Gardens was made up of vaulted terraces raised one over the other and supported by cuboids pillars. The terraces were hollow and filled with earth to allow plants to grow, whereas the terrace floors, vaults and pillars were constructed of asphalt and baked brick. A staircase was used to ascend to the highest tier, while water was transported from Euphrates River to the different terraces with the help of a chain pump arrangement. The Hanging Gardens were not hanging in the truest sense of the term, but derived from the Greek word ‘kremastos’ or Latin word ‘penstilis’ both meaning overhanging. The terrace gardens of Babylon, in the truest sense of the term, were overhanging likewise any balcony or terrace.
Another significant feature of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is the use of baked bricks instead of stone. Stone being difficult to be obtained in the Mesopotamian plains, bricks, made from clay and chopped straw and baked in the sun were used. They were laid with bitumen which acted as mortar. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus made exhaustive studies on the Hanging Babylon Gardens. According to him, the Gardens were 400 feet in both length and width and 80 feet in height. However, Herodotus was of the opinion that the gardens were as high as the Babylonian wall which stood at a height of 320 feet.
Staying in Baghdad
For visiting the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, you need to stay in Baghdad. Babylon Hotel, Palestine International Hotel, Hotel Ishtar, Kandeel Hotel and Sultan Palace Hotel are among the notable accommodations in this city. To cater to your culinary demands drop in at Khan Murjan, Candles, The Wharf, and Venice.