Adonis Diaries

Babel, Babylon: A historic site, a city, a kingdom, a “communication confuser”…?

Posted on: April 4, 2012

Babel, Babylon: A historic site, a city, a kingdom, a “communication confuser”…?

Babel is  Bab Eblo in Babylonian language, which translates to Bab Eel (Door of the God) in Sumerian language and called Kad Nekrowa 6,000 years BC.  Babel is situated 60 km south of Bagdad and became famous during the Akkadian Kingdom around 3,350 BC and later during Hammurabi, the king who is renowned for the first laws penalizing builders for defective constructions…

River Euphrates flowed by Babel, bu the river is very distant now from its original bed.  Later, the Persian kingdom built their Capital Ctesiphon south of Bagdad and on the eastern side of the Tigres River.  Babel and this region was the center of the universe for thousand of years, and Babylon was the center between 562-604 BC during the reign of Nabukhodnossor who ruled over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt…Babel was rediscovered by German archeologists around 1899, particularly by Robert Coldway.

Babel northern entrance was dedicated to goddess Ishtar (goddess of fertility) and the huge door was transported to Berlin. The door was painted of 575 animal species, and the dragon (dedicated to God Marduk) had a fish body, the tail of a serpent, the front legs were a lion, and the hind legs those of an eagle.

The south castle was the heart of the city and spanned 52,000 square-meter and had 172 rooms.  Each of the 5 successive esplanade, stretching from east to west, had specific function, and the south side on each esplanade had a huge community housing.  The central esplanade was the Throne headquarter. The third is recorded to witness Alexander death in 323 BC and who offered sacrifices every day during his stay in Babylon.  Actually, Babylon was Alexander capital for 9 years.

The Street of Victory was on the north side and 60 sculpted lions were lined on the sides.  The Street was used for religious ceremonies, especially on Babylon New Year that started on April and celebrations extended for 11 days.  The festivities begin at the Tower of Babel, pass through the temples, to the north area, and end at the House of Celebration (Beit Akito)

The long and vast Street of Victory was in asphalt, a tar product extracted from the Heat region in Ramadi, and scientists are still unable to reconstitute this product.  Mind you that oil products, afloat in abundance in the south regions, were known at the period and the cities in Iraq were lit by oil lamps.

By the south-east side of Ishtar Door is the main temple called A-Mach (the High House). A well was in its center for the virgin girls to bath before getting wed during the New Year. Alexander offered sacrifices in this temple.

There is this famous Babel Lion of one block of basalt and weighting about 5 tons, and sitting on a base representing the various vanquished people. The rock is from north current Syria and brought via the Euphrates River.

The US military used this particular historic site as one of the major headquarter and vandalized the site and transported the precious artifacts and sold many of them.  Later, the US returned a few historic pieces to the Iraqi government.

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