Hanging Gardens of Babylon Facts

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They are a set of gardens built thousands of years ago, in around 600 B.C. According to legend, the gardens were built in what is now Iraq by King Nebuchadnezzar for his wife, Queen Amytis. She was from a place called Media, which today is in north-west Iran and south-east Turkey. In the hot and dry climate of Babylon, she missed the trees, plants and mountains of her homeland. It is thought that King Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens to look like her homeland and make her less homesick.

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Hanging Gardens of Babylon Facts

 

  • The gardens were up to 75 feet high and it is thought that the plants tumbled down over a kind of pyramid-shaped stone structure. The whole thing looked like a mountain!
  • To make the gardens, the King had to build really deep foundations. The Hanging Gardens were pretty heavy, made of stone pillars and slabs, dirt and plants, so the King needed to make sure it wouldn’t all collapse.
  • Some people think that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were destroyed, perhaps by an earthquake or by war, but no one is sure. Whatever happened to them, they definitely no longer exist.
  • In fact, not everyone believes the Hanging Gardens ever actually existed. Some say they were just a legend. Although archaeologists have looked, no one has yet found any archaeological proof that they really did exist. All we have are ancient written descriptions of how they looked.
  • The gardens were first written about by a priest called Berossus. He described high walkways, held up by stone pillars. He said there were plants and trees and it looked like a mountainous country. Other writers described the gardens similarly.
  • Babylon was in a desert, so there wasn’t much water around. This meant that the Hanging Gardens needed their own watering system so the plants and trees got enough water. One theory is that there was a pump system to transport water to the top of the gardens – water that possibly came from the nearby Euphrates River. From the top, the water would cascade down over all the plants, trees and flowers.
  • The gardens are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World because of their architecture and design and the beautiful effect of tumbling exotic flowers and plants. They were also quite unique in being so green and vibrant in what was quite a dry place. A botanical garden like this was pretty unusual at the time!
  • Some researchers think that the gardens weren’t even in Babylon at all, but near a city called Nineveh, which was further north than Babylon. Like so much about the gardens, this has not yet been proved.
  • The city of Babylon itself also no longer exists. For a long time, it was believed to be the biggest city in the world. It was also the most famous city of the region called Mesopotamia.
  • The name Babylon means ‘Gate of God’ or ‘Gate of the Gods’. There are many references to Babylon in the Bible.

 

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Question: Who were the gardens built for?
Answer: They were built for Queen Amytis, the wife of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Question: Can you visit the Hanging Gardens today?
Answer: No, they no longer exist.