The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

This is not only the most popular wonder, it is also the one that has provoked the most interest and disputes as to its very existence.

An ancient historian, Herodotus, from 450 BC, wrote about Babylon and the awe that it put into the people that had the good luck to see it; this is a quote by him: “In addition to its size, Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world,” he then goes on to describe the walls of the city, he claimed that the walls of Babylon were wide enough to allow a four-horse chariot to turn with ease, the thing is these days it has been proven that although the walls were very impressive, they were not quite so wide as Herodotus said they were.

There were evidently huge statues made out of solid gold inside the city walls, not to mention the immense temples to the gods that seemed to reach for the heavens. Herodotus account of the city of Babylon is enough to make anybody want to see it, because it sounds so beautiful…there is one thing missing in all that though, Herodotus does not mention the hanging gardens that the city is famous for. The most spectacular site of the ancient world, the thing that everybody wants to see, and he does not even mention it. I wonder why? People these days claim that he doesn’t mention it because it never existed, others don’t buy into that for one minute.

By all accounts it was king Nebuchadnezzar, ruler for 43 years who built the hanging gardens, the king lived and ruled at a time when the city was at the height of its power, it was at the top, it was then that the king Nebuchadnezzar built not only the gardens but temples, streets, palaces and much more, he turned Babylon into at city that would bring wonder to every person who saw it.

Nebuchadnezzar’s wife was the daughter of the king of Medes, she was married to Nebuchadnezzar to create an alliance between the nations, to say the least, Babylon and the country surrounding it was much different from where she came from; Mesopotamia was dry, it was the desert and in her homeland there were mountains and rivers and everything was green. Amyitis became so depressed with her new home that her husband made her a wonderful present; he recreated the mountains and trees of her home land by building the hanging gardens.

Many people have asked the question, how did the Gardens “hang.” Well, they didn’t! The Gardens were built on the flat roof tops and many of the plants hung over the sides. The Hanging part was nothing more than a mistranslation of the Greek word Kremastos that means “overhanging”.

The Garden was on the top of terraces and rooftops; something that has puzzled scientist was the fact that the gardens were able to survive in such an arid place that had very little rain fall. One method has been generally accepted as being the solution, even though there is no proof of it. They say that a method of raising water from the Euphrates River up into the sky, to the gardens was invented.

It is called the “chain pump”, it was really nothing more than buckets, ropes, and pulleys that were put together in such a way that water could be brought from the river below and be hoisted all the way to the top of the Garden were it would be emptied into a pool that had little tributaries that carried the water to all parts of the Gardens, kind of like man-made streams…it is a great idea, but like I said, there is no real evidence to prove that it ever really existed.

Just imagine, here you are, a weary traveler in the desert, then you see something that is almost too beautiful to be true, you see this huge mountain raising up out of the desert, shine as if with gold, and all over this mountain, there are trees and plants of every size and shape, what a sight! It probably took many travelers’ breath away. I wonder if the Queen was happy with it.