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The Story of the Much-revered Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Listed as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the hanging gardens of Babylon were probably the most revered and popular of them all.
Vacayholics Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
The hanging gardens are not only the most popular wonder, but also the one that has provoked the most interest and disputes as to their 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. He says, "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 and claims that they were wide enough to allow a four-horse chariot to turn with ease. However, it has been proved that, although the walls were very impressive, they were not quite 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 is enough to make anybody want to see it, because it sounds so beautiful; although there is one thing missing in all that ― he does not mention the hanging gardens that the city is most famous for. The most spectacular site of the ancient world, that everybody wants to see, and he does not even mention it. People claim that he doesn't mention it, because it never existed, others contradict this.

Who built them?

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 then that he built not only the gardens but temples, streets, and palaces; he turned it into at city, that would bring wonder to every person who saw it. Nebuchadnezzar's wife was the daughter of the king of Medes, and she married to Nebuchadnezzar to create an alliance between the nations. Babylon and the country surrounding it was much different from where she came from; Mesopotamia was dry, it was desert, and in her homeland there were mountains and rivers and everything was green. She became so depressed with her new home, that her husband made her a wonderful present ― he recreated the mountains and trees of her homeland by building the hanging gardens.

How did they 'hang'?

Many people have asked the question as to how did the gardens 'hang'. Actually, they didn't. The gardens were built on the flat rooftops and many of the plants hung over the sides. The hanging part was nothing more than a mistranslation of the Greek word Kremastos which means 'overhanging'. They were on the top of terraces and rooftops, and something that puzzled scientist was the fact, that they were able to survive in such an arid place that had very little rainfall. 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 in the sky, to the gardens was invented.

It is called the 'chain pump'. It was nothing more than buckets, ropes, and pulleys that were put together in such a way, that the water could be brought from the river below, and be hoisted all the way to the top of the garden, where it would be emptied into a pool that had tributaries that carried water to all parts of the gardens. But as said earlier, there is no real evidence to prove that this system ever existed.

Hanging gardens is a very beautiful place. If you imagine yourself in the desert, and see something that is almost too beautiful to be true, i.e., the huge mountain raising out of the desert, shining as if with gold, and all over this mountain there are trees and plants of every size and shape, they are nothing but the hanging gardens.
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