The Hanging Gardens
The Ancient Wonders of the World included the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Great Pyramids of Giza, and even the Hanging Gardens, among others. The thing is that unbeknownst to many the Hanging Gardens weren’t actually in Babylon, they were really in Nineveh. In 1969 a CIA satellite captured images of the remnants of an ancient network of canals in northern Iraq, close to the borders of what are now Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Unfortunately, half a century of local habitation and cultivation has covered up much of what was there. To make matters worse ISIL has destroyed countless antiquities and historic sites. This has effectively erased much of the pre-Islamic past. So, to help counteract this, I have written some of the actual histories of the Fertile Crescent for posterity.
Circa 675 BCE a groundbreaking king named Sennacherib allowed Assyrian art to reach its peak. He was an absolutely amazing innovator and designer. King Sennacherib was also an excellent city planner. The layout of his capital included new streets and squares around an immense “Palace Without Rival”, that rose up 80 stories on the southwest corner of Kuyunjic Hill. More to the point, the total area of Nineveh comprised about 1,730 acres on the east bank of the Tigris. That was an incredibly vast stretch of land at the time. As Assyria outpaced Babylonia, Nineveh grew to twice the size of Babylon, with a population of upwards of 150,000 people. So, an elaborate system of canals had to be built to bring water from the mountains to the city. This made it possible to irrigate the land and produce crops. It also set the stage for the Hanging Gardens.
King Sennacherib ordered the construction of a canal network that would run sixty miles south from the Zagros Mountains all the way to the capital city. To divert the water the Assyrians placed stones in the edge of the river causing part of it to move to the side. The angle of the stones was then precisely adjusted in just the right direction so the water would make it all the way to the capital. The king made an elaborate ceremony out of the forming of the network and his control over nature. The mountain water would come down through the gorge and circle around and get diverted into two separate canals that would then converge to produce a single waterway leading into Nineveh.
When the project was finished, two gigantic winding channels came down cutting through the landscape and converged into a single waterway that sustained an entire civilization. As part of this, on its way from the mountains to the city, the Khinis canal crossed over an aqueduct at Jerwan. This was an epic feat of engineering, even by modern standards. The canal was about 300 feet wide and 60 feet deep at the greatest widths and depths. It was large enough to convey 300 tons of water every single day. Plus, centuries before Archimedes, Sennacherib built screw pumps to carry water up 30 stories all the way to the plants on the very top. There were even waterfalls among the Hanging Gardens.
Sennacherib was a brilliant engineer who revolutionized architecture. He used stone arches to support the massive weight of plants and dirt and water. Although many of the buildings in Assyria were made out of sun-baked mud bricks, the Hanging Gardens were made of stone. Each garden was made from a stone slab covered in a bed of reeds, a layer of asphalt, a level of tiles, and more, including soil of course. The ascending series of tiers contained a wide variety of trees, shrubs, bushes, and vines, resembling a large green mound from a distance. This gave the building the appearance of a strange forested mountain in the desert. Among the Hanging Gardens, there were numerous exotic flowering plants. All of this was meticulously arranged and attended by landscape architects. Everything was absolutely beautiful and some of it was even edible. There were pomegranates, oranges, and lemons, to name but a few. The fragrances were captivating. The whole place was just absolutely breathtaking.
They were all sort of living in a kind of utopia for the first time ever, and then war broke out. Although Sennacherib was a bit of a military mastermind, the Assyrians couldn’t defeat the Babylonians, Cimmerians, Persians, Medes, Chaldeans, and Scythians combined. So, after being the largest city in the world for decades, the coalition of forces sacked Nineveh in 612 BCE. The bitter civil war in Mesopotamia was won, so the Hanging Gardens eventually just withered away. As time has passed, the ruins of the capital city of the Assyrian Empire have succumb to the erosive forces of wind and sand. Plus, a whole lot of things have happened in Iraq in the last 2,630 years. The Global Heritage Fund has even named Nineveh as one of a dozen sites that are the most on the verge of irreparable damage. Plus, as long as the conflict continues in the area, the historic site remains too dangerous for archaeologists to excavate and explore.
Regardless, all the evidence points to Nineveh as the true location of the Hanging Gardens. Babylon is hundreds of miles from the immense canals that were seen from space fifty years ago by the Corona satellites. Plus, there isn’t any Babylonian literature that mentions the Hanging Gardens at all. Whereas Sennacherib literally described the Hanging Gardens, possibly for the very first time as a “Wonder of the World”. Oh, and the Garden Relief in the British Museum clearly depicts the King in the Garden. On top of that, the Ancient Greeks often confused Upper and Lower Mesopotamia. So, the Ancient Wonder could have very well been in the city of Nineveh, not Babylon. Although some historians would tend to disagree, the Hanging Gardens were certainly in Nineveh. The truth is that King Sennacherib built the Hanging Gardens of Nineveh on the Tigris near the modern city of Mosul, not King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon on the Euphrates near Hillah.
The history books need to be rewritten!