Babylon – ancient city
According to the legend, the people who lived more than four thousand years ago in Mesopotamia, near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, after the Flood spoke the same language. They were complacent and proud. And they decided to build a tower up to the sky. God learned about this, became angry and gave them different languages. And people didn’t understand each other, quarreled, abandoned the building and went to the different ends of the earth. The tower remained unfinished, but the city where it was erected, gained popularity. It was named Babel.
Until the end of the XIX century the Tower of Babel was considered a biblical legend. There was no physical evidence of construction of the tower.
The Bible says that the builders made the tower of mud bricks, as there were not enough stones. These giant bricks (6 m long) were burned and resin was used as a binder between them. The descendants of Noah, as the Bible said, spent three years searching for materials and about twenty-two years to build the tower.
There were scientists who believed this legend. In fact, during ancient times people traditionally built high towers, called ziggurats, in Mesopotamia. Their remains were found quite often.
In 1897 Robert Johann Koldewey, German scientist-archaeologist, went to Mesopotamia. He had a great archaeological experience – he was engaged in excavations in Syria, Italy, Sicily, Greece, studied ancient languages. Since 1897, Koldewey led excavations at the site of ancient Babylon, which lasted several years. He managed to find the ruins of a giant tower on the left bank of the Euphrates River, erected during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BC). Moreover, he found clay tablets with its description and a kind of drawings.
The foundation of the tower was a square with side length of 90 m. It was surrounded by powerful square fortress. Ziggurat itself was a seven storied building, the total height of which, according to the foundation, reached 100 m. The tower was erected on the left bank of the Euphrates and was surrounded by priests’ house and temple buildings. So most likely it was the legendary Tower of Babel.
It was found out that the tower was originally built during the reign of King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC). Assyrian king Sennacherib destroyed Babylon in 689 BC. And only during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II people began reconstruction of the old ziggurat.
Babylon was a military and political opponent of Israel. Its rulers attacked the Hebrew state, robbed and captured them. So Babylon was recorded in the Bible as a symbol of the fall and sin. The artists of the past depicted the history of the construction of the Tower of Babel in different variations.
Interesting Facts about Babylon
– Babylon was the richest and most powerful city of the time, a great masterpiece of human ingenuity.
– The ruins of Babylon are located on the left bank of the Euphrates, about 90 kilometers south of Baghdad.
– Instead of the planned five years Koldewey spent on the ruins of Babylon about 18 years.
– The entire city was surrounded by a wide and deep moat.