Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is the final wonder I will be discussing in this series on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Hanging Gardens are perhaps the most enchanting of the bunch because it is the only member of the seven wonders whose location is not entirely known.

What we do know about the Hanging Gardens is that they were an important feature of ancient Babylon and a great source of pride to the people of the city. They are believed to have been built by King Nebuchadnezzar II in 600 BC, and according to legend, the King built them for his Median wife, Queen Amytis, when she expressed feeling homesick for the green hills and valleys of where she grew up.

The gardens are thought to have been impressively engineered, with an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and, vines. Upon completion, it is said to have resembled a large green mountain constructed of mud bricks.

Some speculate that they once stood in the ancient city of Babylon near present-day Hillah, Babil province, in Iraq. A Babylonian priest named Berossus wrote about them in 290 BC, but there are no extant Babylonian texts which mention the gardens, and no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon.

Since there is no hard evidence that the Gardens ever existed, some believe they are simply a myth that has persisted for thousands of years. If it did in fact ever exist, it would have been destroyed after the first century AD. Some think the stories of the gardens may have been confused with another well-documented garden that the Assyrian king Sennacherib (704–681 BC) built in his capital city of Nineveh on the River Tigris, near the modern city of Mosul. Unfortunately this is a mystery lost to time, but it’s always fun to imagine the grandness that this once important site could have been to behold.