Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered as one of the seven wonders in the ancient world. The location of this wonder has been described as 50 miles south of Baghdad (in the present day city of Al Hillah in Iraq). According to historical writings it was a gift by King of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar II to please his home sick queen Amytis of Media. She had been craving for her home settings such as the mountainous and lush landscape of Persia. There seems to be a mystery in the creation of Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Description of the Hanging Gardens
There are different descriptions regarding the size of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Heredotus’s account claims that the outer walls of this monument were 80 feet thick, 320 feet high and 56 miles in length. Another Greek historian Diodorus has stated that the Garden was 100 feet long, and 100 feet wide and was built in the form of tiers so that it resembled theatre. There are other impressive descriptions of the Garden.
How could fresh water from the Euphrates feed the Gardens?
There are contradictions regarding how water was supplied to keep the plants alive. Some claim that Archimedes screw was used pushing the water up to the vegetation. While some other historians believe there were chains attached with two wheels where buckets were tied and the water was pulled up. There were high stone slabs erected in the gardens to stop soil erosion. But then again such large stones were scarce in Babylon. Thus many feel that the name Hanging Garden might have been a result of wrong Greek translation. The real meaning should have been overhanging gardens.
Did the Hanging Gardens Really Exist?
One of the raging controversies among the researchers is whether this ancient wonder really existed or not. If Hanging Gardens really existed there would be some written accounts by the local residents. Herodotus who was a noted historian from Babylon has extensively written about the beauty of this city but in none of his writings can we find the mention of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Most descriptions of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have been written by Greek historians such as Diodorus and Strabo, who never visited Babylon. There is no mention of the Hanging Gardens in the official records of Babylon during those times. The credit of Nebuchadnezzar II who had been said to have created the Hanging Gardens is under question. Many researchers propose that the Gardens were built by Sennacherib who was the ruler of Assyria from 705 BC to 681 BC.
So how did the Hanging Gardens of Babylon come to be known?
Many researchers claim that it was the invading armies of Alexander the Great who had all praises for the beauty and splendour of Mesopotamia spread such a word. They viewed the Tower of Babel and described it as a picturesque garden. The accounts kept on piling from person to person and finally it became a wonder.
Though another group of archaeologists feel that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon could have existed but the desert swallowed it. Till date the exact location or any signs testifying the actual existence of Hanging Gardens of Babylon has not been found.