The Mystery Of The World’s Most Famous Garden

Depending on your needs, capabilities and budgets, there is little that landscaping services cannot do to make your garden and outdoor space the relaxing and beautiful natural space that so many people want.

When it comes to creating the perfect garden space, inspiration can come from many sources, whether it is to turn fantasy into reality or to replicate a natural space that has considerable personal importance.

The world’s most famous garden is a combination of both of these, as whilst a lot has been written about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and many artistic depictions, there are still so many mysteries involved with one of the Wonders of the Ancient World that some historians question its very existence.

Despite this, the Hanging Gardens have continued to inspire landscaping and development work, particularly in locations with more complex terrain.

The Second Wonder Of The Ancient World

The Seven Wonders of The Ancient World was a list of unique and notable buildings around Europe, North West Africa and the Middle East, as far as Alexander the Great had conquered by the 4th Century BC.

Whilst many sights captivated Hellenistic travellers during that time, there were seven that held particular significance:

  • The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in what is believed to be modern-day Iraq.
  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, now in modern-day Turkey.
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia in Greece.
  • Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Turkey.
  • Colossus of Rhodes on the eponymous island that is part of Greece.
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt.

Of these seven ancient wonders, only The Great Pyramid stands today, with three of them destroyed by earthquakes and two by fire and plundering armies.

The only exception to this is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which whilst depicted in numerous pieces of artwork and described by five separate contemporary authors are completely shrouded in mystery.

It should be noted that whilst a modern hanging garden has a more specific definition, typically involving plants that actually are in the air, typically by being placed in a hanging basket, the term in Greek has a broader definition, and is believed to refer to a raised garden terrace.

The most commonly cited myth of their creation is that the Hanging Gardens were meant to be built alongside an extraordinary palace that is also subject to considerable mystery known as The Marvel of Mankind for King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.

According to the story, he built the mountainous garden as a gift for Queen Amytis, his wife, who allegedly missed the greenery and rolling hills of her homeland.

The problem is that no such place exists in the parts of Iraq that would have housed the capital of Babylon, and no contemporary Babylonian records exist of the gardens.

This has led to three theories about one of the most famous and influential gardens in history.

The first was that the five surviving accounts (Josephus, Diodorus Siculus, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Strabus and Philo of Byzantium) made it up or were based on older accounts that made it up as a romanticised ideal garden.

The second is that at some point before the first century AD it was destroyed and over the following 2000 years all traces disappeared or are lost underneath the Euphrates River that cannot be excavated.

Finally, there is the theory that the garden existed but instead of being in Babylon was in Ninevah instead, created by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, complete with elaborate water screws, multiple levels and vast canals.

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