More than 2,000 years ago the famous Greek historian Herodotus wrote of astounding architectural achievements that were dubbed the seven wonders of the world. Counted among these was a fabled desert oasis built by King Nebuchadnezzar. He created the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon for his wife Amytis that longed for her picturesque mountain home in Media. At least that is the legend.
The gardens were described as an artificial mountain. Its terraces flourished with lush vegetation and exotic flowers. They were supposed to be an engineering marvel that used an intricate irrigation system with waterwheels to bring water from the river to the upper levels. From there they cascaded to the base in a series of waterfalls.
The gardens are the only one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world that remains a point of conjecture. Hard archaeological evidence has never been found. And some historians believe that if they actually existed the scant evidence points toward Nineveh near Mosul, not the ancient city of Babylon.
There are two thin threads that underlie this belief. One are fragments of texts that predate Herodotus. They hint of gardens built by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib. And nearly a century ago during an archaeological excavation near Mosul, a large bronze screw like the ones described by the Greek historian to move water from the river to the gardens was unearthed.
There are added reasons for conjecture that the legendary gardens were at this ancient city. Fragmented carvings near the site depict lush gardens being supplied with water by an aqueduct. And the lands here are hills ideally suited for building a towering garden while the babylon area was a flat flood plain.
Among scholars that study the ancient Middle East there is, however, little disagreement it was at the site of these ancient empires where cultivating gardens for aesthetic beauty rather than for food began. By Hellenistic times wealthy citizens and nobles in cities throughout the Mediterranean basin were cultivating lavish private gardens.
They were filled with imported plants and flowers, were adorned with sculpture and often had waterfalls. And as evidenced by frescos in ancient Pompeii, for those who lived in a congested city or who lacked the financial means for gardens, walls could be given the illusion of a private park.
The frescos of Pompeii are the worlds best remaining examples of Roman era art. Almost like snapshots they provide insight and rich detail about gardens. The fine details, rich colors and ability to present the sense of being multi dimensional transformed rooms with the illusion that they were actually gardens. This trick of the eye was enhanced with carefully placed potted plants and fountains.
Even though the Colorado River is at the front door for residents of Bullhead City, Arizona, chances are that there are few residents that dream of creating a new wonder of the wonder. And it is difficult to imagine that anyone would want to recreate legendary hanging gardens of Babylon.
But if that is your goal the professionals at Baron Services are here to make that dream a reality. And if you simply want a small desert oasis that is an inviting place to savor a sunset or host a pool party under a starlit desert sky, Baron Services can make that dream come true as well.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America