September 29, 2008

Name: Rocinante
Posting date: 9/29/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Virginia
Milblog: Rocinante's Burdens

We recently did a little sightseeing. We got to look at the ruins of Babylon. Or as the locals call it "Babil". We had to get special permission to see it because the person in charge does not like American soldiers on the property.

The "ruins" are actually re-creations that were built during the Saddam administration, over the tops of the ancient ruins. So many wonderful and unique artifacts dating back to 1,000 BC were destroyed to make this cheap imitation.


Here is a gate reconstruction.


This map shows the relative positions of ancient civilizations and the known ruins surviving from them. The history of this area is remarkable.


This shows some of the inner palace. The original stones come up only about two feet. The rest is modern brickwork. The original brickwork is held together with a tar mortar that is still visible and still holding things together. There is also a processional street here with a tar covering. It's remarkable that the tar has not been burned off.



More of the same.


Here is what un-reconstructed ruins at the same site look like.


This is the throne room. From here, the Babylonian empire was ruled. Alexander the Great died in this room.

Reconstruction, further excavations, restorations and maintenance at this site have all stopped because of a "lack of archaeological interest", as the curator put it. In other words, no one cares, now that the ruins have been ruined.


Thank you for sharing. Do you happen to know the name of the palace? Is the blue gate associated with the same palace?

Yes, our guide went into great detail about how the Germans stole the blue (made from blue glazed ceramic tiles) gate and took it away to Berlin.

The fourth picture, in the foreground, shows the original bricks that were under the blue gate tiles.

This is very cool! I remember seeing the Babylonian sculptures in the Louvre. This is the archeological site to end all archeological sites--the cradle of civilization.

Those pictures were amazing! Thanks for sharing them to myself, and to others who wouldn't have seen them otherwise.

It is disconcerting to see so much reconstruction, but the basic plans are correct. The blue gate is called the Ishtar Gater as it was adjacent to a small temple to Ishtar. The original is in the Berlin Museum. The Processional Way had tiled walls with striding lions. Many of these lions were sold to museums around the world in the early 20th century to pay the excavation expenses. The Processional Way connected the Palace (last photo, throne room, with the ziggurat of Marduk (Patron deity of Babylon). The ziggurat is long gone as it was made of baked bricks which were robbed out over the years to build other buildings.

Those pics are amazing. I can't believe how much reconstruction there is.

Ziggurats were built by the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians for local religions. Each ziggurat was part of a temple complex which included other buildings. The precursors of the ziggurat were raised platforms that date from the Ubaid period during the fourth millennium BC. The earliest ziggurats began near the end of the Early Dynastic Period. The latest Mesopotamian ziggurats date from the 6th century BC. Built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval, or square platform, the ziggurat was a pyramidal structure with a flat top. Sun-baked bricks made up the core of the ziggurat with facings of fired bricks on the outside.

Cheers for the pics mate! As someone above said, something I would never have seen without you! :)

Tkank you very, very much! At firs time I can see reconstruktion of room in wchich died Alexander. I'm very gratfull. Thanks and greetings from Poland. Gina

Awesome photos were taken that time! Thanks for sharing!
The reconstructed gate looks good.
And the palace interior is great!

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