The approach to the Garden sloped like a hillside and the several parts of the structure
rose from one another tier on tier... On all this, the earth had been piled... and was
thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their great
size and other charm, gave pleasure to the beholder... The water machines raised the water
in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it.
On the east bank of the River Euphrates, about 50 km south of Baghdad, Iraq.
It is said that the Gardens were built by Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar
(604-562 BC) to please his wife or concubine who had been "brought up in Media and
had a passion for mountain surroundings".
While the most descriptive accounts of the Gardens come from
Greek historians such as Berossus and Diodorus Siculus, Babylonian records stay silent on
the matter. Tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar do not have a single reference to the
Hanging Gardens, although descriptions of his palace, the city of Babylon, and the walls
are found. Even the historians who give detailed descriptions of the Hanging Gardens never
It wasn't until the twentieth century that some of the mysteries
surrounding the Hanging Gardens were revealed. Archaeologists are still struggling to
gather enough evidence before reaching the final conclusions about the location of the
Gardens, their irrigation system, and their true appearance.
Detailed descriptions of the Gardens come from ancient Greek sources, including
the writings of Strabo and Philo of Byzantium. Here are some excerpts from their accounts:
"The Garden is quadrangular, and each side is four
plethra long. It consists of arched vaults which are located on checkered cube-like
foundations.. The ascent of the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway..."
"The Hanging Garden has plants cultivated above ground
level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the
earth. The whole mass is supported on stone columns... Streams of water emerging from
elevated sources flow down sloping channels... These waters irrigate the whole garden
saturating the roots of plants and keeping the whole area moist. Hence the grass is
permanently green and the leaves of trees grow firmly attached to supple branches... This
is a work of art of royal luxury and its most striking feature is that the labor of
cultivation is suspended above the heads of the spectators".