Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

   Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Hanging Gardens are still a mystery today. The story goes, around 600 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (now modern day Iraq) created these wondrous gardens to appease his new homesick wife the Princess Amytis of Persia (now northern Iran). She missed the green hills of her homeland and the King who was considered to be a great builder of his time, thought nothing about building lush green gardens for her. Now that's love. The garden was terraced with arched vaults and stood 75 feet high (22.5 M) and 100 feet square (30 M). It was built of stone and brick and was capable of growing large trees. A well with conduits provided the irrigation.

One of many suggested looks to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon   
Unfortunately the evidence of its existence is poor. The gardens may have been the creation of a later King Sennacherib or of an earlier king for his Persian courtesan.

The typical garden of this time period for Babylon, Assyria and Egypt was laid out in a formal manner. The gardens were usually walled with a fountain or a pool in the center. From the pool the garden was divided into four quadrants. This pattern shows up over and over through out history and is extremely important to the Arab cultures. In each quadrant a tree would be planted and around the garden edge trees would be planted regularly spaced along with arbours holding grape vines. Flower gardens were planted near the house and this is where we are first to find a woman's influence in the garden. The gardens were cool and shady places for the family to relax and dine al fresco. 

The palm tree held enormous importance for these people. Beside the obvious shade it provided trees did not grow easily in these arid countries. Water was always a concern and getting water to the gardens was utmost on their minds. The palm or date palm  gave timber, its fruit gave milk, from its sap wine, from its syrup sugar. Its tender tips were cooked for a vegetable and its fruit was a staple in the national diet.

2 comments:

  1. The history of the hanging garden seems really romantic. I mean, that's like the perfect gift. But after some though, I realized that maintaining that big garden will be very tough.

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  2. Were there women working on the Gardens?

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