This booklet is the first in a series which has been published in 1982 by the Iraq Government on the preservation and restoration of the monuments of Babylon.
Some 90 kilometres to the south of modern Bagdhad lie the ruins of ancient Babylon, the original name of which, “bab-ili”, may be translated as “the Gate of the Gods”. For the world at large Babylon ranks as one of the most famous cities of antiquity, renowned alike for its refinement, beauty and magnificence. As a centre of culture and government it flourished for about fifteen centuries, from the arrival of the Amorites ca. 1850 B.C. down to Alexander the Great, who died there in 322 B.C. One of the best known of the city’s early rulers was the great law-giver, Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C.).
In classical times the city walls of Babylon were spoken of with admiration and astonishment, while her “Hanging Gardens” were accounted one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
During the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (605-563 B.C.) Babylon was extensively re-built on an altogether magnificent scale, the city becoming at this period both the most beautiful and the most prosperous of the ancient world. Bisected from north to south by the river Euphrates, the city was surrounded by a moat and by two massive walls, the outer being about 16 kilometres in length, the inner about 8 kilometres. Within the inner city wall were brick- and bitumen-paved Thoroughfares and imposing buildings, of which numerous traces and ruins may still be seen by the visitor today. In particular there is part of Babylon’s great Procession Street which passes through the Ishtar Gate and on towards the site of the city’s huge staged temple tower or “Ziggurat”. On one side of the Procession Street are the ruins of the South Palace (300 x 190 metres) amongst which are to be found those of the famous “Hanging Gardens” mentioned above. To the north of the South Palace are the ruins of the Principal Gate, the broken walls of which consist of baked bricks laid with gypsum mortar. Also within the circuit of the inner wall and surrounded by residential buildings are the temples of Marduk, Ishtar, Gula and Ninurta.
For the past two thousand years the ancient buildings of Babylon have been extensively quarried for their excellent baked bricks. Thus, what survives today is generally only the lower courses of the walls or simply their foundations. Moreover, what survives is threatened by salt and the high local water table. Action is urgentls required to rescue these ruins.
Fotunately there already exist plans and reconstructed drawings on many of Babylon’s principal buildings, even some of which little now remains but their foundations. These plans and drawings were made by German archaeologists who dedicated some seventeen years to the excavation of Babylon before the First World War.
As the product of fifteen centuries of human toil and endeavour Babylon belongs to all people and to all nations. Visitors from all over the world are anxious that something should be done to further the restorations and reconstruction of babylon’s principal buildings, so that the city’s former grandeur may be better appreciated. It is appropriate, we feel, that all countries should assist in this work, not only in recognition of Babylons’ great place in history, but also in recognition of her great cultural importance for everyone.
Please find as follows some pictures of the booklet:
1 = City Gate
2 = The Tower
3 = The Southern Palace
4 = Ishtar Gate
General View of Babylon.
Western Wall of the Lower Ishtar Gate.
Reconstructed Plan of the Tower.
hanging garden plan.
The ruins of the Ishtar gate.
Ornaments in Colours on glazed Bricks decorating the Throne Hall.
Clay Tablets giving in Cuneiform the dimensions
of the Tower and the Temples (229 B.C.).
Plan of the Southern Palace and the so-called Hanging Gardens
at its northern corner.
Bull and Lion in colourful glazed bricks.
Lion in colourful glazed bricks.
Walls of the Principle Palace.
Lion of Babylon.
Mushhushu in coloured glazed bricks.
Colours englazed in brick in throne hall