The City of Babylon


Compiled by Rev. Jack Barr

The name "Babylon" means "Gate of God",

It was the 2d-1st millennium BC capital of southern Mesopotamia. (now in Iraq).

Babylon rebelled against the Assyrian empire in 626 BC. In 612 BC they overthrew the Assyrian capital of Niniva.

In 605 BC they defeated the Egyption armys and captured Israel, including Jerusalem. And this was the first deportation of the Jews to Babylon.

The City of Babylon was built around the Tower of Babel and was (14) (5) square miles in size. (Herodotus claimed 14 sq. mi, the map of the city shows 5 sq mi )

The triple-walled city measured at least 18 km (11 mi) or (9 mi.) in circumference.

According to Herodotus:

The city walls were built of brick that were 1 ft. Thick. Each brick was seperated by 3-4 inches of morter. The walls were 300 ft. High and 80 ft. Thick and an additional 35 ft. Of Wall was below the ground. The walls were protected by deep moats surronding the city which could be flooded by opening gates to the river.

There were 250 guard towers on the thick wall.

There were 100 brass gates, 25 gates connecting the inner city with the river Euphrates which flowed diagonally through the city.

Modern - says that everything Herodotus said could be reduced to 1/4 th. of what he claimed.

Modern excavations show that the city had many buildings of 3-4 stories high. The temple of Bel was 8 stories high.

There were 8 gates into the city (Zondervan Pictural Bible dictionary pp92)


There were ferry boats that allowed the people to cross the river from one side of the city to the other side, and a draw bridge, on stone peers, 100 ft. Long and 30 ft wide. The draw was made with ropes and pulleys.

There was also a tunnel under the river that was 15 ft. Wide and 12 ft. High.

Within the city were 53 Temples and 180 altars to the god Ishtar.

The famous Hanging Gardens (Gardens of Semiriramis) was located here. This was terraces supported on huge masonary arches, on which gardens had been laid out at different levels. The garden was visible above the surrounding buildings and had luxurious apartments under it.

Babylonia owed its long prosperity to its location astride important trade routes. Babylon itself commanded the north south route of the Tigris River running down from Assyria to the Persian Gulf; the Euphrates River gave access to the west; and a caravan route led eastward through the Zagros Mountains to Iran. Babylon was not only the capital of the country but also a religious center. It became the most populous city of the Near East, and under Nebuchadnezzar II it was a legendary showplace with its great walls and ziggurat, gates and temples, and the fabled Hanging Gardens.

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